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.

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