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Washington Handgun Trigger Locks, Initiative 676 (1997)

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Washington Initiative 676, also known as the Handgun Trigger Locks Initiative, was on the November 4, 1997 election ballot in Washington as an Initiative to the People, where it was defeated.

The question asked on the ballot was, "Shall the transfer of handguns without trigger-locking devices be prohibited and persons possessing or acquiring a handgun be required to obtain a handgun safety license?"

Election results

Initiative 676
ResultVotesPercentage
Defeatedd No1,194,00470.62%
Yes 496,690 29.38%

I-676 attracted national attention because, if it had passed, it would have imposed one of the toughest gun safety laws in the nation.[1]

I-676 would have required;

  • Trigger locks to be sold with handguns.
  • Required handgun owners to take an eight-hour safety training course or pass an exam on the safe handling, operation, and storage of guns before they could possess the handgun.
  • Handgun owners would have been required to obtain a gun safety license from the state verifying they had completed the training or exam.
  • Failure to obtain a gun safety license could have resulted in a misdemeanor or felony charge, as well as police confiscation of the handgun.[2]

Although I-676 suffered a crushing defeat, the New York Times said three weeks before the election that polls showed it winning "by a wide margin".[1]

Campaign spending

Gun rights groups, including the National Rifle Association, spent more than $2.3 million urging a "no" vote. Bill Gates and his father donated $185,000 to the "yes" side.[2]

See also

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