If Competing WA Gun Background Check Measures Pass, Courts May Decide


Alan Gottlieb, a national leader in the gun-rights movement, is facing what might be his toughest fight, says the Seattle Times: persuading voters to reject Initiative 594, which would expand gun-purchase background checks in Washington state to private sales and transfers. The initiative has broad support. A recent poll showed 60 percent of voters, including a majority of self-described gun owners, favoring the proposal. Independent groups have raised $10 million to support I-594 from some of the state's wealthiest political donors and from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's advocacy group, Everytown for Gun Safety.

Gottlieb isn't just opposing I-594. He and others in the gun-rights community are leading efforts to pass another measure, I-591, that would bar the state from enacting its own background-check laws and cede that authority to the federal government. Initiative 591 would also prohibit government agencies from seizing guns without due process. Gottlieb says he believes I-594 will pass. If both initiatives pass, the courts would likely get involved to determine the wishes of voters and might give I-594's opponents leverage in helping shape what gets enacted into law.

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