Supporters of an initiative to prevent Washington state from adopting universal background checks for gun sales have collected 340,000 signatures — more than enough to qualify for the ballot in 2014, sponsors say.
Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Bellevue-based national Second Amendment Foundation, said supporters are planning to submit the signatures in Olympia on Thursday.
They’ll continue collecting signatures until the early January deadline to demonstrate support for the proposal, said Gottlieb, who added that nearly 900 volunteers have participated in the effort.
“I’m not surprised at this kind of response,” he said. “Gun owners have been under attack for more than a year now. And in politics, every action has an equal and opposite reaction.”
Initiative 591 would prevent Washington state from adopting background-check laws stricter than the national standard, which requires the checks for sales by licensed dealers but not for purchases from private sellers.
The proposal was crafted in response to Initiative 594, also aimed at the 2014 ballot, which will seek to require background checks for all sales.
Supporters of Initiative 594 submitted about 250,000 signatures last month, and are planning to submit more by January.
About 250,000 valid signatures are needed to qualify an initiative, but the Secretary of State’s Office suggests that campaigns submit 325,000 to assure validation.
If the initiatives are validated, they will first go to the 2014 Legislature and, if not adopted there, to the 2014 ballot.