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Gun-control I-594 sponsors submit first batch of signatures

by Brian Zylstra | October 9th, 2013

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As supporters look on, I-594 sponsor Cheryl Stumbo is interviewed by the media after signatures were delivered to the Elections Division.

Sponsors of gun-safety Initiative 594 have turned in an estimated 250,000 signatures to our Elections Division, intending to bring in enough additional signatures by the submission deadline of Jan. 3 to assure validation to the Legislature and possibly the 2014 statewide ballot.

I-594, which was filed last June as an initiative to the Legislature, requires universal background checks on gun purchases.

The Elections Division reported that staff counted 15,623 petition sheets that were turned in by the initiative sponsors on Wednesday. It was unusually early for a sponsor to submit signatures so far in advance of the deadline.

I-594 backers say they will bring in more signatures of registered Washington voters before the deadline. The initiative needs at least 246,372 valid voter signatures to qualify.  The Elections Division recommends that initiative sponsors submit at least 325,000 signatures to provide a cushion to cover duplicate or invalid signatures. The average error rate is 18 percent.

If validated, the measure would go first to the 2014 Legislature, which could approve it as submitted, ignore or reject it and allow it to go to the fall 2014 ballot, or write a legislative alternative that would accompany the initiative to the ballot.

A competing gun-related measure, I-591, also was filed earlier this year. That initiative 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.

Go here to view all of the initiatives to the people and initiatives to the Legislature filed this year.

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