Supporters of Washington’s dueling gun initiatives anxiously awaited election results late Tuesday in decidedly different fashion.
Backers of Initiative 594, the measure seeking to expand background checks, gathered at The Edgewater on Seattle’s waterfront, with big name politicians and other prominent officials addressing a large crowd of more than 175 that filled its conference room beyond capacity.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, King County Executive Constantine and Gov. Jay Inslee were among those to speak to supporter before returns landed.
“Washington state could lead the way, as we did with marriage equality,” Murray said. “But like marriage equality, it will be one step at a time.”
Rabbi Daniel Weiner of Temple De Hirsch, a backer of I 594, opened his remarks with a silent moment of prayer for victims of gun violence, including the students in Marysville. He said he is optimistic the measure will pass because it is backed by a broad coalition that “transcends the typical party polarization.”
Meantime, supporters of I-591 — the measure to prohibit background checks beyond federal standards — convened in a more subdued manner. About 35 people gathered at I-591 headquarters in an office complex in Bellevue. Among the crowd, celebrity shooter and blogger Annette Wachter — a member of the U.S. Long Range Rifle Team who’s known as “30 Cal Gal.”
Gun rights activist and I-591 supporter Alan Gottlieb remarked that waiting for the election results to finally come after nurturing the ballot measure “feels like giving birth.”