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Legislature likely to receive, but unlikely to act on, gun check initiatives

Sat., Jan. 4, 2014, midnight

OLYMPIA – The Legislature almost certainly will have two chances to enact gun legislation in the upcoming session. But it’s likely to ignore both and pass them on to voters.

Supporters of Initiative 594 turned in an estimated 95,000 additional signatures this week for their proposal to 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 an initiative needs only 246,372 to advance to the Legislature.

Supporters of Initiative 591, which would keep the state from expanding background checks until a “uniform national standard” is developed, turned in more signatures before Friday’s deadline, adding to the 340,000 they submitted in late November.

Both proposals are likely to be certified by the secretary of state’s office and sent to the Legislature, which could ignore or reject both, sending them to the November ballot. It could pass one but not the other, meaning the approved initiative would become law and the other would go on the November ballot. It could pass both, leaving the courts to sort out any conflicts. Or it could pass an alternative bill on gun control, which would put three proposals on the topic on the November ballot.


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