OLYMPIA — The Legislature almost certainly will have two chances to enact gun legislation in the upcoming session.
It will almost just as certainly ignore both, and pass the question on to voters.
Supporters of Initiative 594 turned in an estimated 95,000 additional signatures this week for their proposal the extend background checks to most private sales of firearms. Along with the 250,000 or so signatures turned in last fall, that would give them 345,000 signatures, and they only need 246,372.
Supporters of Initiative 591, which would keep the state from expanding background checks until a “uniform national standard” is developed expect to turn in about 5,000 signatures today to go with the 340,000 they submitted in late November.
There's no prize for having the most signatures, but we can expect a certain amount of bragging rights. In both cases, it seems likely the two proposals will be certified by the Secretary of State's elections office through the expedited process that ballot measures with well over the standard rejection rate have.
The initiatives would then be forwarded to the Legislature, which has several options:
— Ignore both, which would put them on the ballot in November.
— Reject both, which would also put them on the ballot in November.
— Pass one one but not the other. The passed initiative would become law, the other would go on the November ballot.
— Pass both into law. That could be a problem because in some respects they are conflicting, but legislators could leave that to the courts to sort out.
— Pass an alternative bill on gun control, which would put three proposals on the topic on the November ballot.
Based on the options, and the Legislature's track record with initiatives that are sent its way, smart money would be on “ignore both”.