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 are valid, that’s enough to have Initiative 594 considered in the 2014 session. Initiative campaigns typically have a rejection rate of 10 percent to 15 percent of all signatures, so sponsors plan to turn in as many as 75,000 more in December.
Most campaigns wait until they have all the signatures they expect to collect. But spokesman Christian Sinderman told reporters the early turn-in was a way to highlight volunteers’ “incredible work so far … and send a message that we’re making progress.”
I-594 would require background checks for most private transfers of firearms, with some exceptions that include sales or gifts among family members and for sales of antique weapons. Firearm dealers, who currently must do background checks for their sales, would be paid by the private seller to do the background checks.
Another proposal on gun laws, I-591, would require due process for any gun confiscation by law enforcement and only expand background checks if a uniform national standard is adopted.
Alan Gottlieb of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, which is backing I-591, said that measure also expects to have a comfortable margin of signatures on petitions it will submit sometime in December.
Gottlieb expected both proposals will have enough signatures to be certified and sent to the Legislature in January. Neither he nor Sinderman expect legislators to pass either proposal, which means both would wind up on the November 2014 ballot.
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