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Latest from The Spokesman-Review

WA gun law a model for other states

Gov. Jay Inslee addresses an election night party for Initiative 594 on Tuesday in Seattle.

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.

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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. . . 

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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 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."

Sunday Spin: Tough sledding on gun bills

OLYMPIA – The massacre of first graders and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary may result in some major national gun-control legislation this year. Too soon to tell.

But it may also block some smaller gun-related legislation in Washington state. At least that’s what several Senate Democrats contended Friday afternoon after an unusual meeting of the Senate Law and Justice Committee.

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Background check bill passes House panel


OLYMPIA – A bill requiring almost all gun buyers in Washington to undergo a background check passed a key House panel Tuesday and will likely be part of a package of gun laws up for a floor vote in March.

Despite heavy criticism last week from gun-rights activists, the House Judiciary Committee passed the so-called Universal Background Check bill on a 7-6 vote.

It would require buyers in most private firearms sales either to submit to the same background check they would undergo if buying the gun at a licensed dealer or to produce a valid state concealed pistol license. . .

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WWJD about guns? Gun bill debate offers answers

OLYMPIA – What would Jesus do about gun control? A debate between a Spokane Valley legislator and a Seattle minister seemed to raise that question Wednesday in a hearing on proposals for new gun laws.

Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, and the Rev. Sanford Brown of the 1st United Methodist Church of Seattle seemed to be quoting from the same Bible, but came up with different answers.