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Wash. Voters Approve Expanded Gun Background Check

Elaine Thompson
AP Photo
Cheryl Stumbo, center, is applauded as she finishes speaking at an election night party for Initiative 594, a measure seeking universal background checks on gun sales and transfers, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014, in Seattle.

Washington voters have overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure to expand background checks for person-to-person gun sales and transfers. Initiative 594 passed with 60 percent of the vote.

At the I-594 victory party in Seattle, campaign manager Zach Silk fired up the crowd.

“Washington state has voted yes on 594 and closed the background check loophole,” Silk said.

The measure will require background checks for person-to-person gun sales and transfers in Washington. That includes gun show and internet transactions. Current law only requires federally-licensed gun dealers to conduct these checks.

Cheryl Stumbo,  a shooting survivor and the citizen sponsor of the initiative, told the crowd the fight is not over.

“We’ve closed Washington state’s background check loophole and we’re going to continue this fight for policies that reduce crime and save lives. This movement is here to stay,” Stumbo said.

Washington becomes the seventh state to require universal background checks, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

Initiative 591 was a competing gun measure. It would have prohibited Washington from adopting a stricter background check requirement.

Both of these initiatives started out as initiatives to the legislature. When the legislature failed to act, they went to the ballot.

Paula is a former host, reporter and producer who retired from KNKX in 2021. She joined the station in 1989 as All Things Considered host and covered the Law and Justice beat for 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.
Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.