Topic: Christian Sinderman
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November 21, 2013 at 11:54 AM
OLYMPIA — Second Amendment activists submitted an estimated 340,000 signatures Thursday, likely enough to qualify their initiative to prevent Washington state from adopting universal background checks for gun sales.
The checks are currently required for sales by licensed dealers, but not for purchases from private sellers.
“This is a monumental effort to protect our gun rights,” said Alan Gottlieb, of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, before turning in the signatures for Initiative 591 at the Secretary of State’s elections office in Olympia.
He added that “background checks do not prevent crimes” because criminals do not subject themselves to them.
Phillip Shave of the Washington Arms Collectors and Bill Burris of the Washington State Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor Association joined Gottlieb.
“I-591 will guarantee that Washington residents will not be subjected to ridiculously complicated, costly and ineffective new government intervention into private transaction,” Shave said, referring to the proposed Initiative 594, which would establish background checks for all sales in Washington state.
Initiatives 591 and 594 are aimed to go before the 2014 Legislature and, if lawmakers don’t approve, to the November 2014 ballot.
Supporters of Initiative 594 submitted about 250,000 signatures last month. On Thursday, Initiative 594 spokesman Christian Sinderman said the measure’s supporters are “closing in” on 325,00 signatures.
Because of the possibility of duplicate or otherwise problematic signatures, the state recommends that initiative sponsors collect 325,000 signatures to be sure they have the required 246,000 valid signatures.
“Background checks are not a complete solution, but everything we can do to keep guns out of the hands of criminals is a step forward,” Sinderman said. “591 is a step backward.”
October 9, 2013 at 10:05 AM
Supporters of universal background checks for gun sales on Wednesday submitted most of the signatures they need to qualify for a 2014 statewide initiative.
Jewish Federation shooting victim Cheryl Stumbo and other Initiative 594 backers showed up in Olympia with an estimated 250,401 signatures on more than 15,000 petitions, according to the Secretary of State’s office.
While just 246,000 valid signatures are required for an initiative, the Secretary of State recommends that campaigns submit 325,000 to assure validation.
Initiative 594 supporters said they they plan to do that by the Jan. 3 deadline.
“We’re not declaring that we’ve reached our ultimate goal,” said spokesman Christian Sinderman. “We got to the first goal faster than we thought and we wanted to get them out of our hands and get back into the field and continue.”
The campaign got to the 250,000 hurdle through a combination of paid signature gatherers and an “unprecedented grass roots petition distribution effort,” according to a news release.
If Initiative 594 qualifies, it will first go to the state Legislature in 2014. If lawmakers don’t adopt the measure, it will go on the November 2014 ballot.
Second Amendment activists are collecting signatures for a 2014 initiative of their own, which would prevent the state from adopting a stricter background-check law than the national standard.
September 7, 2013 at 4:55 PM
Supporters of an initiative to expand background checks for gun sales have come up with a new way to gather signatures: delegating the job to newspaper readers.
The Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility this week paid to put petitions in 130,000 copies of The Seattle Times and 50,000 copies of The Stranger, according to spokesman Christian Sinderman.
The petition, an 11 x 17 paper featuring the wording of the initiative, space for five signatures and instructions for how to mail them in, greeted Times home subscribers in King and Snohomish counties Saturday.
“It’s a cool experiment to go directly to people with petitions, to try to make it easy for them,” Sinderman said. “We’ll see what happens.”
The approach has been done before, on occasion, said Dave Ammons, a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s Office.
The Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility’s 2014 initiative would require background checks for all gun sales, not just those by licensed firearm dealers, as in current law.
The group paid The Times $10,000 and The Stranger $5,000 for the packages, which included printing the petitions, Sinderman said.
Jill Mackie, spokeswoman for The Times, said the group was charged the typical rate for a political issue advertising campaign.
Opponents of the initiative painted the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility’s new advertising campaign as an act of desperation.
“They must be having trouble getting people to sign their petition,” said Phil Watson, of the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation, whose leadership prefers another 2014 initiative to prevent the state from adopting expanded background checks on its own. “Otherwise why spend money on this?”
But Sinderman said the newspaper advertising represented a good deal.
If 5 percent of the 130,000 Times subscriber mail in five signatures, Sinderman noted, it would translate to about 30,00 signatures. He said that would cost about $90,000 to collect via paid signature-gatherers — nine times what the group paid The Times.
July 15, 2013 at 10:00 AM
Washington state supporters of expanded background checks for gun sales state have won an early skirmish in a long battle with Second Amendment activists that’s expected to end with dueling initiatives on the November 2014 ballot.
The background-check supporters beat back two court challengers to the wording of what will appear on the ballot with their measure, Initiative 594, which would require the checks for almost all gun sales. Background checks currently are required only for sales by licensed firearm dealers.
Both challenges came from gun-rights supporters who felt the wording put the proposal in a positive light. They wanted the ballot title and summary to call the exceptions “limited” and note more prominently that not conducting a background check would be a crime.
Alan Gottlieb of the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation said he was disappointed in the Thurston County Superior Court ruling “because if you’re creating a new crime, voters should know that.”
Initiative supporters, naturally, were happier.
Spokesman Christian Sinderman argued that the challenges backfired because one of the only changes to the ballot title and summary made by Judge Chris Wickham clarified that the background checks look for criminal history and public-safety issues.
If the measure makes it to the ballot, the following will run with Initiative 594:
“This measure would apply currently used criminal and public safety background check requirements by licensed dealers to all firearm sales and transfers, including gun show and online sales, with specific exceptions.
“Current law requires criminal and public safety background checks before purchasing a firearm from a licensed dealer. This measure would extend this requirement to most firearm purchases and transfers in Washington, with exceptions, including transfers within families, temporary transfers for self-defense and hunting, and antiques. Licensed dealers would conduct the background checks and could charge a fee. Violation of these requirements would be a crime.”
Second Amendment activists, meanwhile, are pursuing their own initiative, also aimed first at the 2014 Legislature and then, likely, the November 2014 ballot. The ballot wording of Initiative 591 was approved without a court fight. It is:
“This measure would prohibit government agencies from confiscating guns or other firearms from citizens without due process, or from requiring background checks on firearm recipients unless a uniform national standard is required.
“This measure would declare that it is unlawful for any government agency to confiscate guns or other firearms from citizens without due process, or to require background checks on the recipient of a firearm unless a uniform national standard is required.”
June 11, 2013 at 12:44 PM
State faith leaders and gun violence victims on Tuesday filed an initiative proposal that would require background checks for almost all firearms sales and transfers, taking the first step in what is expected to be a hotly contested push for stronger gun laws.
Supporters, who have already raised more than $1 million for their campaign, will need to gather some 246,000 valid signatures by next January to send the measure to the state Legislature. If lawmakers do not accept it, the initiative would go to voters in November 2014.
The background checks are meant to prevent felons and mentally disabled people from getting weapons. The checks are currently required for sales from licensed gun dealers.
The proposed law would extend that mandate to private sales, requiring the seller go to a dealer and pay for a background check.
A few transfers would be exempted, including for antique guns, gifts within the immediate family, situations where there is imminent danger and transactions related to a law enforcement officer’s job.
“This will make it more difficult for bad guys to get guns, and it won’t burden the good guys,” said campaign manager Zach Silk, noting that 98 percent of state residents live within 10 miles of a gun dealer.
But Second Amendment activists quickly noted the proposal would be far stricter than a bill that failed to pass this year in even the Legislature’s Democrat-controlled House. That measure would have exempted concealed pistol license holders.
Alan Gottlieb, of the Second Amendment Foundation, called the new proposal “overly restrictive by a long shot.”
The National Rifle Association, which typically opposes new gun restrictions, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
It is unclear how much gun-rights activists will fight the initiative.
Supporters, though, are expected to be well-financed. The campaign will be a run by the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, a group founded late last year by wealthy venture capitalist Nick Hanauer.
A kickoff fundraiser two weeks ago at The Westin Seattle brought in more than $1 million from 1,200 attendees, according to initiative spokesman Christian Sinderman.
The luncheon’s keynote speaker was Mark Glaze, executive director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a big-spending group founded by New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg. After the luncheon, Glaze promised that Bloomberg’s group would support the Washington state initiative.
Gun-control advocates are hoping that national support will help them avoid what happened in 1997, when a Washington state initiative to require trigger locks on handguns and training for owners failed overwhelmingly.
This time, said Silk, “we expect to win.”
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