The morning after voters approved Initiative 594, the proposal to expand gun-buyer background checks to private sales and transfers, the measure’s supporters declared they’d take their momentum to lawmakers in Olympia.
“We are here this morning to announce that we are not packing up our tents, claiming victory and going home,” said Sandy Brown, president of the board for the Center for Gun Responsibility, at a news conference Wednesday. “Yesterday’s victory is just the beginning,” he added.
An advisory council to groups supporting I-594 is crafting proposals that can be taken to lawmakers for next year’s session. Brown and others wouldn’t speak to what those proposals may include, but that they would release more information some time in December.
Rep. Ruth Kagi, D-Seattle, has said she will reintroduce a bill that would make it a crime for someone to leave or store a loaded gun where a child could get access. A similar bill sponsored by Kagi last year did not get out of the House Judiciary Committee.
“I really do think the vote last night will make people more comfortable with the reasonable need for more gun-safety laws,” Kagi said Wednesday afternoon.
A competing measure, Initiative 591, which would bar the state from enacting background checks beyond federal requirements, was still failing as of Wednesday afternoon.
Alan Gottlieb, chair of the Protect Our Guns campaign, which has promoted I-591, said groups seeking tighter gun laws would have trouble making strides due to the makeup of the Legislature. Republicans picked up a handful of seats in the state House and were holding on to seats necessary to preserve the Republican-dominated Majority Coalition Caucus in the Senate.
“They will have a harder time in Olympia due to the increased gains we made in the swing districts in the election,” Gottlieb wrote in an email.