NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Initiative 594 leading–Washington just got safer

Owning a gun is a big responsibility, one which increases the risk of suicide or homicide for gun owners and their families. In Washington state, nearly 6,000 people were killed with a gun in the last decade.

Thankfully, today Washington voters are making a decision that will save lives, by passing Initiative 594 by a margin of almost 20%. According to gun safety organization Washington Ceasefire, “Those states that have the most reasonable gun laws have far fewer gun deaths than those states that have the least restrictions.”

I-594 will require background checks of gun buyers at private sales and gun shows. Our current law contains a loophole—it only requires buyers purchasing a gun from licensed dealers to undergo a background check. Until the passage of I-594, it was legal for anyone to buy a gun out of a trunk in a parking lot or over the Internet. Criminals, domestic abusers and people with severe mental illness could evade a background check by avoiding licensed gun dealers.

This initiative and opposing initiative, I-591, are the first gun-related ballot measures in the country since the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting. This has made them the focus of national media and big contributors, such as Bill and Melinda Gates, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the National Rifle Association.

The country’s watching, and I-594’s strong victory will likely energize gun safety efforts in other states.

Background checks have been shown to save lives, something that important to people in Washington who are struggling right now to understand last week’s violent deaths of Marysville-Pilchuck High School students. This vote is a good step towards a safer state.

Adjacent posts

  • Donate now to support The Cascadia Advocate


    Thank you for reading The Cascadia Advocate, the Northwest Progressive Institute’s journal of world, national, and local politics.

    Founded in March of 2004, The Cascadia Advocate has been helping people throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond make sense of current events with rigorous analysis and thought-provoking commentary for more than fifteen years. The Cascadia Advocate is funded by readers like you: we have never accepted advertising or placements of paid content.

    And we’d like it to stay that way.

    Help us keep The Cascadia Advocate editorially independent and freely available by becoming a member of the Northwest Progressive Institute today. Or make a donation to sustain our essential research and advocacy journalism.

    Your contribution will allow us to continue bringing you features like Last Week In Congress, live coverage of events like Netroots Nation or the Democratic National Convention, and reviews of books and documentary films.

    Become an NPI member Make a one-time donation