Spin Control

Gun initiatives could load confusion into election

OLYMPIA -- Whether they are more likely to support gun rights or stronger background checks, Washington voters appear to be confused about a pair of seemingly conflicting gun initiatives and could approve both of them this fall.

That's the conclusion of a new Elway Poll that asked about 500 voters their support for Initiatives 591 and 594, both of which will be on the November general election ballot.

In the survey, 72 percent said they would definitely or likely vote for I-594, which would expand background checks in Washington for gun sales beyond the current federal standards for purchases from gun dealers; 55 percent said they would definitely or likely vote for I-591, which would allow background checks to be expanded in Washington state only if it's part of a national standard.

Among those questioned, 62 percent said they thought background checks should be made more extensive, while 32 percent said they should be kept as is. But here, too, there was confusion, because half of those who favor more extensive background checks said they would vote for I-591; and half who said background checks should be kept as they are now planned to vote for I-594.

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Jim Camden
Jim Camden is the Olympia bureau chief, covering the Legislature and state government. He also is a political columnist and blogger for Spin Control.

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