OLYMPIA — Backers of an initiative that would require criminal and public safety background checks for anyone trying to buy or inherit a gun cleared the first round of hurdles Wednesday, bringing the measure one step closer to a popular vote.
According to the secretary of state, backers of I-594 submitted an estimated 250,000 signatures in 15,000 petitions to the secretary of state’s office Wednesday. They hope to have the issue brought before the state legislature in 2014. If lawmakers don’t pass the measure, and enough valid voter signatures are submitted, it will be on the 2014 ballot.
The group, led by Jewish Federation shooting victim Cheryl Stumbo, planned to submit at least 325,000 signatures by the Jan. 3 deadline, all but guaranteeing the issue would be taken up by the 2014 legislature.
If passed, the initiative would enforce stricter regulation on gun buys and background checks.
The issue of background checks again rose to national prominence in late 2012, when a shooter killed more than 25 children and adults at an elementary school in Connecticut.
According to the Seattle Times, opponents of the measure are also collecting signatures for a separate initiative that would restrict the state from adopting stricter background check rules.