Gun Control Fight Heads Toward Wash. Ballot

By Liz Jones

Advocates for stricter gun laws in Washington state launched a campaign today to take the issue to voters.

This comes after state lawmakers voted down a similar bill to expand background checks on gun sales.

Leaders of Jewish, Baptist, Sikh and other faith communities filled the stage at Seattle’s Town Hall, in support of the initiative. Among them was Rabbi Daniel Weiner of Seattle.

Weiner: "We will no longer wait as our community grieves another loss of a loved one. As another youth is shot down on our streets. We will not wait for another Café Race or another Sandy Hook.”

The group Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility is organizing the campaign. Its director, Zach Silk, says the initiative is still being drafted. But he expects it will be stricter than a background check bill lawmakers just declined.

Silk says the goal is to keep guns away from criminals.

Silk: “Right now, we know they go to gun shows. We know they can go online to buy guns and they can also buy them privately. And all of that happens without a background check.”

The campaign’s strategy is a two-phased approach. The group plans to gather signatures this summer, then take the initiative first to the legislature in January 2014. If lawmakers take no action, the campaign will then send the measure to voters in November.

Dave Workman is with the Bellevue-based group, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. He opposes background check laws because he fears they could lead to a government registry of who owns what type of gun.

Workman: “Quite honestly, gun registration – that’s poison. There are two reasons to register a firearm. It’s either to tax them or to take them.”

The gun control campaign plans to file the initiative by late May.

KUOW 2013.

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