Washington voters to choose between background check initiatives (VIDEO)

Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the CCRKBA. (Photo credit: Elaine Thompson/AP)

Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the CCRKBA. (Photo credit: Elaine Thompson/AP)

Washington state voters will choose this November between a pair of opposing initiatives dealing with background checks for gun buyers.

Initiative 594, supported by gun control advocates, would expand gun background checks to include private transfers. Initiative 591, supported by gun rights proponents, would maintain the status quo.

“The gun prohibition lobby pushing I-594 falsely claims to have the facts on their side,” said Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA), in a recent statement.

The gun rights group was key in campaigning to have their counter initiative placed on the ballot to oppose the background check expansion.

Gottlieb’s comments came on the heels of the decision by the Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs (WACOPS) announcement that it will back I-591 and oppose I-594.

“By opposing I-594, WACOPS members recognize that the gun control measure is not only excessive, it poses a burden on local agencies whose budgets are already stretched thin,” Gottlieb said. “Police and sheriff’s departments don’t need to be handed an unfunded mandate crafted by gun prohibitionists with millions of dollars that could be better spent supporting education, training and responsible public safety programs.”

Besides police groups, the CCRKBA have been joined in support of I-591 by the National Rifle Association,  and Washington Arms Collectors.

Facing off in opposition to I-591 and giving support of expanded background checks is the Seattle-based Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility (WAGR). “The initiative is simple: it makes sure that anyone buying a gun in Washington State passes the same background check, no matter where they buy the gun and no matter whom they buy it from,” WAGR said. The group said I-594, should it become law, would not prevent loans and temporary transfers of guns for hunting or self-defense, nor gifts between immediate family members.

WAGR has been joined by the League of Women Voters and Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety organization, which has set up an action fund for the measure.

King Co. Prosecutor Dan Satterberg (Photo credit: Joshua Trujillo/SeattlePI.com)

King Co. Prosecutor Dan Satterberg (Photo credit: Joshua Trujillo/SeattlePI.com)

In addition to gun control groups, some state prosecutors are also publicly calling for support of I- 594. “It will help keep guns out of the hands of convicted felons, people with severe mental illness, domestic abusers and other dangerous people,” co-wrote Dan Satterberg, the Republican King County Prosecutor, and Mark Roe, the Democrat Snohomish County Prosecutor in a recent op-ed.

The editorial board of the Seattle Times echoed these statements. Even with this support, they contend that, “It won’t be perfect, or solve everything, but it will certainly help prevent some tragedies from happening.”

Washington state voters appear confused over the two contrary initiatives which have attracted some $3.6 million in contributions.

A recent Elway poll of likely voters found that 72 percent were likely to support I-594– while at the same time 55 percent of the same respondents advised they were in support of I-591. If the two ballot amendments both pass, it could trigger an intervention by the state supreme court to come to a judicial solution.

The election is scheduled for Nov. 4.

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