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Wed., Oct. 9, 2013, 10:21 a.m.

I-594 sponsors turn in 250K signatures

OLYMPIA -- Carol Holt, Robert Martin and Barbara King (seated, left to right) count petitions for I-594,  a gun control initiative, while Kate Ayres carries counted stacks to a storage box in the Secretary of State's elections division office. (Jim Camden)
OLYMPIA -- Carol Holt, Robert Martin and Barbara King (seated, left to right) count petitions for I-594, a gun control initiative, while Kate Ayres carries counted stacks to a storage box in the Secretary of State's elections division office. (Jim Camden)

Carol Holt, Robert Martin and Barbara King count petitions whild Kate Ayers shuttles stacks of I-594 to a storage box.

OLYMPIA — Sponsors of a proposal to expand background checks for gun purchases turned in 250,000 signatures Wednesday to qualify it as an initiative to the Legislature.

If they were all valid, that would be enough to have Initiative 594 considered in the 2014 session. But initiative campaigns typically have rejection rate of 10 percent to 15 percent, sponsors plan to turn in as many as 75,000 more in December.

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Most campaigns wait until they have all they expect to collect. But after making a show of the early turn-in for a group of reporters and television news cameras Wednesday morning, spokesman Christian Sinderman said it was a way to highlight volunteer’s “incredible work so far… and send a message that we're making progress.”

Sinderman said he didn't think it would backfire and give volunteers the mistaken impression they could relax because the signature-gathering campaign is over. Most signatures in the last month have been gathered by volunteers, he said, but the campaign could return to paid workers if needed.

I-594 would require background checks for most private transfers of firearms, with some exceptions that include sales or gifts among family members and for sales of antique weapons. Firearm dealers, who currently must do background checks for their sales, would be paid by the private seller to do the background checks.

Another proposal on gun laws, I-591, would require due process for any gun confiscation by law enforcement and only expand background checks if a uniform national standard is adopted.

Alan Gottlieb of the Citizens Committee for Right to Keep and Bear Arms, which is backing I-591, said that measure also expects to have a comfortable margin of signatures on petitions it will submit sometime in December. They wouldn’t do an early turn-in because some volunteers might stop collecting signatures.

But Gottlieb expected both proposals will have enough signatures to be certified and sent to to the Legislature in January. Neither he nor Sinderman expect legislators to pass either proposal, which means both would wind up on the November 2014 ballot.




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Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981. He is currently the political reporter and state government reporter in the newspaper's Olympia bureau office.

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