Competing Washington gun measures likely headed to 2014 ballot

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January 17, 2014

By Brittany Clingen

Washington state voters will likely decide the fate of two competing gun-related measures this November. January 3 marks the deadline by which petition signatures must be submitted to the secretary of state. Supporters of I-594 - a measure which, if approved, would require background checks to be run on every person purchasing a gun in the state, even those doing so via private sales - turned in approximately 95,000 signatures on January 2, adding to the 250,000 submitted in October 2013 and bringing the total to 345,000.[1]

Meanwhile, supporters of I-591 - a measure that would prevent the government from confiscating firearms without due process and implementing background checks unless a federal standard is established - are also expected to bring their total signature count to 345,000 by turning in an additional 5,000 signatures by the deadline. Each measure must have at least 246,372 valid signatures to move forward.[1]

Both measures are Initiatives to the Legislature. Therefore, if the secretary of state confirms enough signatures have been collected, the measures will be placed in the hands of lawmakers when the 2014 session begins on January 13.[2] Legislators can then approve the laws as they are written, submit competing measures and send them to the ballot, or do nothing, thereby automatically putting the measures to a vote of the people.[1] If both measures do land on the November 4, 2014 ballot, voters can expect a deluge of out-of-state money from activists on both sides of the gun debate.

See also