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Spin Control

Posts tagged: gun control

Gun surrender law could save lives, victim says

Stephanie Holten, center, talks with Rep. Laurie Jinkins and Grace Huang of the state Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

OLYMPIA – When her ex-husband pointed a gun at her and threatened to blow her head off while she knelt in her Spokane living room, there was a point when Stephanie Holten thought “I’m going to die.”

Still, Holten remained calm enough to slip out her cell phone and dial 911 when Corey Holten turned his head away for a few seconds, then slip the phone under a blanket hoping the line was open. When he ordered her upstairs and demanded she surrender custody of their son, she stayed clear headed enough to bargain with him to give her the ammunition and put the gun down in return.

 As the last round was ejected from the chamber, she heard “Spokane Police. Show us your hands” as officers arrived, guns drawn, and arrested him.

As calm as she was on that January night in 2012, Stephanie Holten had a brief panic attack Friday after watching Gov. Jay Inslee sign a bill that will make it less likely that someone under a no-contact order and prone to domestic violence, as Corey Holten was that night, will show up at another former spouse or partner’s house with a gun.

The shakes, she explained later after catching her breath, were partly adrenaline from seeing a goal accomplished and partly post-traumatic stress that lingers.

“I’m overjoyed,” she said. “I truly believe that it will save lives.”

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog

Domestic violence offenders could be ordered to give up guns

Padden calls for a vote on firearms bill.

OLYMPIA — A person under a restraining order for domestic violence can be ordered to surrender all firearms under a law that passed the Legislature this afternoon.

In a 49-0 vote, the Senate sent to Gov. Jay Inslee a bill that allows the subject of such a restraining order to be required give up his or her guns after a hearing if a judge rules that person is a credible threat. The bill was first proposed last year in the House and went through several changes as it moved back and forth between the chambers.

Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, said the bill complies with both the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the stronger protections for having firearms in the state constitution. “There are times when people should not have these firearms,” he said.

With an amendment for due process procedures that include a notice, the hearing and the judge's finding, the National Rifle Association dropped its opposition to the bill, Padden said. HB 1840 passed the House 97-0 last month.

 

Gun initiatives get second hearing

OLYMPIA – A pair of initiatives on gun control had their second and likely last hearing Wednesday with supporters and opponents disagreeing sharply on when giving a gun to another person would require a background check.

Wednesday’s hearing by the Senate Law and Justice Committee didn’t have the same “star power” as Tuesday’s House hearing without former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords and former astronaut Mark Kelly to speak in favor of Initiative 594. But it did feature more questions by legislators of the two initiatives sponsors and sparked a debate over what it means to “transfer” a firearm. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

Giffords: ‘Be bold’, pass gun control measure

OLYMPIA – Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords urged legislators to “be bold, be courageous” and require wider background checks on gun sales. Gun rights advocates urged them to protect constitutional rights and pass a competing initiative.

But even before testimony began in the packed hearing room Tuesday, it was clear the Legislature is likely to do neither.

Initiative 594, which would subject most Washington gun sales to the kind of background checks now required when buying from a dealer, and Initiative 591, which would expand background checks in the state only if there's a new federal standard, aren’t likely to pass the Legislature. They're headed, instead, for the fall ballot, Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, indicated.

“This is the beginning of a dialogue we'll be having at least until November,” Jinkins said. “Let's keep it civil.”

And for the most part, it was… .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog. 

Live coverage: Gun control initiatives hearing

OLYMPIA — Spin Control is providing live coverage of the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Initiatives 591 and 594, two measures on gun control expected to be on the November ballot.

 

 

 

Live coverage coming: House gun control initiatives hearing

OLYMPIA — The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the two gun control initiatives likely to go on the ballot later this year.

Among the speakers supporting Initiative 594, which would expand background checks for most gun purchases, will be former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly. Also on the agenda is Initiative 591, which would require a federal standard for expanding background checks before any changes could take effect in Washington. 

The hearing is expected to draw an overflow crowd, with additional seating in the House gallery, something that's usually reserved for hearings on the very big, very contentious issues. 

We'll be covering it live, via Twitter, with reports being filed here on Spin Control.

Giffords to testify at gun initiative hearing

Gabrielle Giffords waves to reporters earlier this month at an event to mark the third anniversary of her shooting in Arizona.

OLYMPIA — Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a shooting rampage that killed six, will testify in favor of a proposed initiative to require broader background checks for gun purchases.

Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, are expected to testify in favor of Initiative 594 at a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday afternoon.

The committee is holding a hearing on both I-594, which would extend the current requirements for background checks on purchases from dealers to most public sales, and I-591, which would only allow broader background checks if the federal standard changes. Both proposals gathered more than 340,000 signatures in campaigns last year. I-594 has already been certified as an initiative to the Legislature and I-591 is in the middle of the having signatures verified but is expected to be certified soon.

Under state law, the Legislature could pass either into law. But it is expected to pass on both, sending the two measures to voters on the November ballot.

Giffords was severely wounded and six people were killed when a gunman opened fire on a congressional gathering in her Tucson, Ariz., congressional district three years ago. She and Kelly formed Americans for Responsible Solutions to help reduce gun violent after the Sand Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012. 

The House Judiciary Committee's hearing is at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Senate Law and Justice Committee also will hold a hearing on the two measures starting at 1:30 Wednesday. Both are expected to attract a wide range of supporters and opponents of the conflicting initiatives.

WA Lege: Gun initiatives getting hearing Wednesday

OLYMPIA — Two initiatives dealing with gun rights and gun control will get a hearing next Wednesday in the Senate Law and Justice Committee.

Both are initiatives to the Legislature. I-594, which would extend the current background checks for buyers required for sales from gun dealers to almost all other sales, was certified Wednesday by the Secretary of State's office after a check of signatures submitted late last year. I-591, which would ban stricter background checks in Washington until federal standards changed, is undergoing signature checks but is expected also to easily certify.

The Legislature is unlikely to pass either into law, bypassing the ballot. But Committee Chairman Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, said a hearing will give legislators and the public a chance to get questions answered. “That helps us and it can only help to inform the voters,” he said.

The 1:30 p.m. hearing will be moved out of the committee's regular room into a larger room to accommodate the expected crowd.

 

Gun initiatives headed for Lege

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”.   

I-594 sponsors turn in 250K signatures

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.

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

Gun control supporters to turn in some petitions Wednesday

Sponsors of an initiative to require background checks for more gun sales will turn in some of the signatures Wednesday that they need to send the measure to the Legislature next year.

Members of the Initiative 594 campaign said Tuesday they plan to turn in about 225,000 signatures. or about 70 percent of their goal, as a way of “demonstrating tremendous support” for the proposal. It would require background checks for most private gun sales or transfers, beyond the current requirement of background checks for sales by dealers.

To be certified as an initiative to the Legislature, a proposal needs a minimum of about 250,000 signatures, although most campaigns try to get a substantial cushion of extra signatures to cover names that aren't registered or are duplicates. Most campaigns wait until they have reached their targets, or the deadline in late December, before submitting signatures.

Also gathering signatures this year is I-591, a separate initiative to the Legislature that would forbid gun confiscation without due process and require a national standard for expanded background checks. 

The Legislature can pass an initiative without changes and make it law, or it can ignore or reject it, which puts it on the ballot next November. It can also pass an alternative, which would put both the original initiative and the alternative on the November ballot.

Gun rights, gun control advocates want your signature

OLYMPIA – Whether you are for or against stricter background checks on gun sales, you'll have a chance in the coming months to support your position by signing an initiative to next year's Legislature.

 

If both Initiative 591 and Initiative 594 get the required signatures, they'll likely both be on the 2014 ballot if the Legislature follows its recent pattern of punting such proposals to voters rather than adopting them. (The full text of the initiatives can be found by clicking on the documents below.)

 

I-591, a one-page proposal that bans government confiscation of guns and any background check that isn't part of a national system, started its signature-gathering campaign about two weeks ago at one of the state’s biggest gun shows, the Washington Arms Collectors’ Show in Puyallup.

 

“We knew what the other side was going to do. We filed before they did,” said Alan Gottlieb, campaign manager for Protect Our Gun Rights.

 

I-594, an 18-page proposal that lays out a process to apply the current federal system of background checks required by dealers to private sales in Washington, with some exceptions for family transfer and antique sales, got its final ballot language approved last week and will start signups this week.

 

“It looks like we’ll be out there together,” Zach Silk, campaign manager for the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, which is sponsoring I-594…

 

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Documents:

Inslee narrows top priorities for special session

OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee has shortened his top priorities on the Legislature’s “to do” list for the special session to three things:

Pass an operating budget. Pass a new package for transportation projects. Toughen penalties for those who drive drunk or high.

At a press conference on the opening day of the 30-day special session, Inslee acknowledged that three other things he listed as priorities two weeks ago might not get done.

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

Inslee signs felony gun register bill, calls for background checks

 

OLYMPIA – Anyone convicted of a felony involving a gun could be required to register with the state law enforcement agencies for four years under a bill signed Wednesday by Gov. Jay Inslee.

The felony firearms registry, which would be maintained by the Washington State Patrol, was the most significant gun legislation to pass in the recently concluded session. Inslee challenged legislators to go further in the upcoming special session, which starts Monday, and vote on background checks for all gun purchases.

“We’ll not leave until gun violence is addressed in our state,” Inslee told reporters after signing a total of 25 bills on a wide variety of topics.

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to continue inside the blog.

GOP to put AR-15 up for bid

State Republicans will have a chance to bid on a rifle at the center of the current gun-control vs. gun rights debate, an AR-15, at their spring fund-raiser this weekend.

But State GOP Chairman Kirby Wilbur said auctioning off the semi-automatic rifle is not a pro-gun statement. Washington Republicans are pretty much all pro-gun already.

“It’s a pro-fund-raising statement,” party spokesman Keith Schipper quoted Wilbur as saying.

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to continue inside the blog

Background check bill dies

OLYMPIA – Democrats abandoned a bill to require wider background checks for gun purchases late Tuesday after disagreements over the proposals caused the House of Representatives to grind to a halt for a second afternoon Tuesday.

“It does not appear we are going to make it,” Rep. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, said Tuesday evening to announce that the proposal did not have the necessary 50 votes to pass the House beforeWednesday's 5 p.m. deadline. “It turns out it was just too big of a stretch.”

Pedersen, Gov. Jay Inslee and other supporters of the plan known as universal background checks had struggled since Monday to round up the necessary 50 votes needed to pass House Bill 1588. Meanwhile, the fate of dozens of other bills hung in the balance because they must also come to a vote before that 5 p.m. deadline. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, go inside the blog.

Universal background check bill expected today

Rep. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, the sponsor of the universal background check bill, talks with Rep. Steve Kirby, D-Tacoma, one of its key opponents, before debate starts on the bill.

OLYMPIA — The House is expected to vote this afternoon on a bill requiring all gun sales to be subjected to background checks.

Heard that before, you say. Like yesterday?

It's true that House Democrats thought they had the votes to bring up the bill yesterday. But as the afternoon dragged on with their members in and out of a rolling caucus meeting, it became clear that they didn't.

Today, they may have a solution: Adding an amendment to the bill that requires a public approval of the law in November. That's one of nine amendments that legislators may be asked to consider on HB 1588. To see the bill, and proposed amendments, click here.

Watch this space for updates.

Vote on background checks may be delayed

OLYMPIA — A vote on a bill that would require a background check for private gun sales might be delayed because it doesn't have enough support to pass, a co-sponsor said.

The vote on HB 1588 will probably not take place today, Rep. Mike Hope of Lake Stevens,who may be  the lone Republican supporter of the bill. Democrats, who have a comfortable majority in the House, may not have the votes needed to pass it, he said.

With Gov. Jay Inslee spending time in the House wings trying to drum up support for background checks around lunchtime, Rep. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, had predicted the bill would be among a package of gun-control proposals to be put to a vote starting around 3 p.m. But after easy votes on four the chamber went into recess and Democrats began talking about holding debates on health care legislatrion instead.

billson the package that involvine changes to the mental health system,   Pedersen said through a spokeswoman the background check bill could still come up for a vote later in the day, or in the evening.

All legislation must pass the chamber where it was introduced by 5 p.m. Wednesday, or be dead for the session.

House passes 4 mental health bills

OLYMPIA — The House gave overwhelming support this afternoon to four bills designed to tighten up mental health laws involving violent people.

It gave unanimous support expanded the ability of victims of stalking and “cyberstalking” to seek protective orders from a court, in a bill that also allows a judge to require the person named in the protective order to surrenter his or her firearms and concealed weapons permit.

Another bill that received a 98-0 vote would move up by one year, to July 1, 2014, the enactment of changes to the Involuntary treatment law which require faster competency evaluations for defendants facing charges involving violent crimes.

Another bill tightens rules so that a person judged incompetent to stand trial for a violent crime is required to receive inpatient treatment and law enforcement officials are notified when that person is released. The fourth sets up a system for a court to order competency evaluations of a potential defendant if the overburdened state hospital system fails to do so within a set timeline.

House may vote on gun bills today

Gov. Jay Inslee talks with Rep. Maureen Walsh, R-Walla Walla, during a visit to the House to lobby for votes on a bill to require universal background checks on gun purchases.

OLYMPIA — The House is expected to take up a package of bills supporters say are designed to curb gun violence today, if sponsors line up a few more yes votes for key legislation.

Gov. Jay Inslee made stops on both sides of the chamber in an effort to line up support for a bill that would extend background checks to private sales. Rep. Jamie Pederesen, D-Seattle, said that bill has at least 47 of the 50 votes needed for passage, and there are six or seven other legislators who are “maybes”.

Pedersen, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said the House may start running the package of bills at mid afternoon, starting with legislation aimed at the mental health system. That will include a bill to make changes in requirements for involuntary treatment, and another to close what he described as a gap between the standards for a person who is incompetent to stand trial on criminal charges but not incompetent for civil cases.

Other bills in the package would be expanded authority to recover firearms and concealed weapons permits from someone under a protection order for stalking, and a registry of firarms offenders.

Among the last bills in the package Pedersen expects to be debated would be the so-called “universal background check” bill, which extends current requirements for the buyers of firearms to private sales from commercial sales.

In the area between the House floor and Democratic leadership's offices, Inslee called the ability for felons to buy guns in private sales “a loophole that common sense tells us needs to be closed.” He said he was talking to House members of both parties “asking them to step up to the plate.”

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

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