Washington state voters on course to pass gun control initiative

by Chris McGreal  |  published on November 3, 2014

Gun Initiative Sandy Hook
Washington state voters appear ready to go where their politicians fear to tread and impose greater gun controls in the face of a well-funded campaign by the National Rifle Association and a rival spoiler measure on Tuesday’s ballot.

Opinion polls suggest a clear majority in favour of requiring background checks on all firearms sales in Washington state including at gun shows and through private advertising. The campaign for the only major piece of gun control legislation on the ballot in the US this year, Initiative 594, was launched in the wake of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting on the other side of the country two years ago, in which 20 children and six adults were murdered. But the campaign drew to a close with a school killing in Washington itself in which five students were shot in the Marysville school north of Seattle last month.

Geoff Potter of the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, a coalition of organisations which put the initiative on the ballot, said the campaign was born of frustration at the unwillingness of the US Congress and members of Washington state’s legislature to curb the illegal sale of guns because they are afraid of the power of the NRA.

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