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Law

Wash. gun control advocates turn to initiative

Gun control advocates in Washington are launching an initiative campaign after state lawmakers declined to expand background checks on gun sales.

The group Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility announced its plans Monday. Supporters will need to collect nearly 250,000 valid signatures, with state officials recommending the submission of more than 300,000 to account for duplicates and invalid signatures.

If supporters get enough signatures, the initiative would first go to the Legislature early next year and then to the ballot if lawmakers fail to adopt it. Proponents in the state Legislature did not have enough votes to pass a bill on background checks this year.

Gun buyers must currently undergo a background check when they purchase a weapon from a federally licensed firearms dealer. Lawmakers had proposed expanding that to cover private transactions.

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