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. . . .
. . . Giffords, who was severely wounded in 2011 in a rampage that killed six during a congressional district meeting, left much of the talking to husband Mark Kelly, a former astronaut who stressed that they were both gun owners and believe all other “law-abiding citizens” have that right.
One way to keep guns out of the hands of criminals is with I-594, he said: “The law will not be perfect . . . .It will give law enforcement a valuable tool.”
Steve Judy of the National Rifle Association, said the hearts of NRA members go out to Giffords and Cheryl Stumbo, the victim of a mass shooting in
I-594 won’t stop the black market in guns, Judy said, but it will create a massive government data base of lawful gun owners. “It’s not simple. It’s complicated government excess.”
Although the arguments for and against wider background checks didn’t break any new ground, the Spokane-area was well represented in the
Robin Ball, owner of
Ball also questioned prosecutors’ interest in enforcing current laws. While she’s had only a few purchasers fail background checks, she’s never had federal law enforcement call to check up on those failed buyers.
The Rev. James Waggoner, Episcopal bishop of
Closing out testimony were
“I prefer a society where I am able to protect myself,” McIntosh said.
But Christian Sinderman, a spokesman for I-594, said the proposal would make no difference in that situation. Gifts between immediate family members are specifically excluded, he said, and McIntosh could also buy the gun or receive it as a gift from anyone else unless he failed a background check.