Ballot may determine gun control measures

After struggling to sway both state and federal lawmakers, proponents of expanding background checks for gun sales are now exploring whether they will have more success by taking the issue directly to voters.
Associated Press
Apr 29, 2013

While advocates generally prefer that new gun laws be passed through the legislative process, especially at the national level, they are also concerned about how much sway the National Rifle Association has with lawmakers.

Washington Rep. Jamie Pedersen, a Democrat who had sponsored unsuccessful legislation on background checks at the state level, said a winning ballot initiative would make a statement with broad implications.

"It's more powerful if the voters do it — as opposed to our doing it," Pedersen said. "And it would make it easier for the Legislature to do even more."

On Monday, proponents of universal background checks in Washington will announce their plan to launch a statewide initiative campaign that would require the collection of some 300,000 signatures, according to a person involved in the initiative planning who spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to pre-empt the official announcement.

The Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility has scheduled a fundraiser in Seattle at the end of next month and hopes to have a campaign budget in the millions of dollars.

Ballot measures may be an option elsewhere, too. Hildy Saizow, president of Arizonans for Gun Safety, said an initiative is one of the things the group will be considering as it reconsiders strategies. An organizer in Oregon was focused on the Legislature for now but wouldn't rule out a ballot measure in the future if lawmakers fail to pass a proposed bill there.

While advocates have had recent success on background checks in places like Connecticut and Colorado, they've been thwarted in some other states and in Congress. The U.S. Senate rejected a plan to expand background checks earlier this month, although lawmakers in the chamber are still working to gather additional votes.

Brian Malte, director of mobilization at the national nonprofit lobbying group Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said passage through Congress is the ideal in order to have a national solution and so that states with strong gun laws aren't undermined by nearby states with weaker standards. He noted that initiative campaigns are costly endeavors that can drain important, limited resources.

Still, Malte said, the ballot measures are an option to consider.

"At some point, certainly decisions need to be made about what the right time is to say we take it to the people," Malte said.

Brian Judy, a lobbyist who represents the NRA in Washington state, did not return calls seeking comment about the new initiative. He has previously said the NRA would likely oppose such an effort, arguing that the recently proposed laws on background checks would largely impact law-abiding citizens instead of the intended targets such as criminals and the mentally ill.

Gun measures have had mixed results at the ballot. More than 70 percent of Washington state voters rejected a 1997 initiative campaign that would have required handgun owners to pass a safety course. After the Columbine High School massacre in 1999, voters in Colorado and Oregon approved ballot measures the next year to require background checks for buying weapons at gun shows.

Following another massacre in Colorado earlier this year, state lawmakers approved a bill to expand background checks to private transactions and online purchases. A similar expansion plan in Oregon is stalled in the state Senate.

Some states don't see initiatives as a viable option right now. In Missouri, state Rep. Stacey Newman has been pushing for background checks with little success. While she spoke positively about the idea of a ballot initiative, she said there's no serious consideration of it because of the cost and coordination required just to get it on the ballot. Instead, the supporters of background checks in the state are simply working to prevent NRA-supported legislation from passing the state's General Assembly.

"We're continually on defense," she said.

Gun buyers currently must undergo a background check when they purchase a weapon from a federally licensed firearms dealer but can avoid checks in most states by using private purchases, such as at gun shows.

Washington state advocates believe polls show the public is sufficiently on the side of expanding background checks further. An independent Elway Poll conducted two months ago found that 79 percent of registered voters in Washington state supported background checks on all gun sales, including private transactions.

That wasn't enough to shepherd the bill through the Legislature. Even in the state House, which is controlled by Democrats, supporters fell short after an NRA campaign put pressure on some lawmakers. Pedersen had offered concessions through the process, including the option of sending the measure out for a public vote and exemptions for people who already have concealed pistol licenses or law enforcement credentials.

Pedersen said he was working with the initiative organizers on language for the proposal, and he said the Legislature would first have another chance to adopt the measure early next year. If it fails among lawmakers again, the proposal would then automatically go to the ballot, where Pedersen said he welcomed a campaign competing against groups like the NRA.

"I'm not afraid of it at all," Pedersen said. "The public is really with us. It's the right policy. I think it can be useful for further progress."

 

Comments

Señor Clown

Why do background checks keep coming up as the proposed solution to gun violence? The article references the support for them after the Columbine shootings, and again now, but in both instances the shootings took place with STOLEN GUNS. Can we effectively perform background checks on people looking to steal a firearm? The solution to this problem is much more complex than any proposal of 'more laws' or 'tougher laws' can address, but sensationalism is good for politics...

looking around

Background checks are a good place to start along with listing the guns and their serial numbers on your permit as some states do already. Then if a gun is stolen from you, it is more likely you will report it as if it turns up in the hands of a criminal and the serial number has not been filed off it could be traced back to you.....then we need to look into how you store your guns. If not in a responsible manner then maybe you should be charged as well. Serial numbers should be put on guns in multiple places as automobiles to further allow for traceability. If you sell a gun in private sale, it must be reported and removed from your list of guns along with the identification of the purchaser. Let's get it on the Ballot!

arnmcrmn

So if I am a person, living in a dangerous area and have my gun in my dresser drawer (because lets face it, I don't have time to run to my gun safe in the basement, fiddle with the combo in the dark, tell the burglars to hold on a minute...grab my gun) and lets just say my house is broken into while I am out to dinner that evening. They steal everything, including my gun that I have for personal protection. You are saying I should be charged?

If so, what happens if they just haul my safe out and take all my guns by easily cutting my safe apart off location? Or what if I had my handgun in a small personal safe that they broke apart with a crowbar while they were robbing my house?

Bottom line is they broke into my house, and stole my possessions. Why should I be charged.

looking around

We have gone through this before! Have your gun or guns at the ready if you feel the need, they are in your possession. But if you leave the house be responsible and store your weapons and ammo properly so that they may not fall into the wrong hands. If someone makes off with your safe report the theft and let authorities know exactly the full content of the safe. That being done, as a responsible gun owner it is doubtful you would be charged with anything however if you were not storing you weapons in a responsible manner, then let the chips fall where they may. YOUR GUNS ARE YOUR RESPONSIBILITY! Even the military, and gun shop owners take due precautions to prevent theft. In the military on base not in a war zone, the weapons and ammunition are stored and issued when needed, all ammunition and weapons must be accounted for after the training exercise. Go ask a gun dealer how he stores his weapons when the store is locked up for the night.

SamAdams

I see EXACTLY what you're saying! You're saying that

• If somebody steals my car (which I have no alternative but to park on the street), I'm liable for any accidents since I didn't have it secured in a garage.

• If somebody steals my XBox and later goes on a school shooting rampage, it's my fault for the bad guy being able to play games which MIGHT have inspired him.

• If somebody steals my lawn mower and then tries to clean it while it's running, I have to pay the medical bills because the storage shed was too flimsy to stand up to a determined burglar.

If any of these things AREN'T true, then why would it be true if somebody broke into my locked home and found a hidden firearm that they later used in the commission of a criminal act? Many things in my house — and yours! — could POTENTIALLY be deadly. Granted, if I personally use any of those things to kill somebody, I'm entirely liable. But if somebody else does, why in God's name would you even THINK to blame ME?

looking around

Your automobile has anti theft devices built into it, try telling your insurance company that your car was stolen because you left the keys in it...the police ask that first thing when your car is stolen. Once reported stolen you rarely would have any liability for its use unless you loaned it to or made available use authorized or not to someone you know. You are required insurance on your automobile by law.

I copy paste here some information I found on an insurance site.

Sometimes the owner of a motor vehicle can be liable for injuries caused by the driver of their car, even though they are neither driving nor at the accident scene, on the basis of their ownership and their grant of permission for the at-fault driver to use the car.
Vicarious Liability for Car Owners

Where a car owner lets another person drive a car, most jurisdictions will treat the car owner as sharing liability for any accident caused by the borrower. The car owner's liability may be predicated on statute, or on common law principles such as negligent entrustment. From a public policy perspective, owner liability helps ensure that there will be insurance coverage for the accident, as the owner of a car will typically be insured. A borrower of a car is less likely to be insured.

Owner liability ordinarily involves the permissive use of a vehicle. That is, the owner gives the borrower permission to use the car, or knowingly acquiesces in their use of the vehicle. Depending upon state law, in the event of an accident a member of the owner's household may be presumed to be driving with the owner's permission.

Owner liability does not ordinarily extend to non-permissive uses of a car, although an owner's negligence may sometimes cause liability to follow even where a car is stolen. For example, some jurisdictions will hold an owner liable if they leave the keys in the ignition of the car, and their car is stolen and subsequently involved in an accident.

Where the owner of a vehicle is a government agency, sovereign immunity may apply.

X-boxs have no regulation so it is not even a good example and rather silly don't you think?

Lawn Mower as well is a bad example...but if he starts it on your property and is injured you might be surprised at your liability....hope you have good homeowners insurance.

As pointed out before it is your responsibility to see to it that your weapons don't fall into the wrong hands. If they are stolen you better report the theft ASAP. If it was found you did not take precautions to make sure your weapon could be used by another in the commission of a crime, then by all means you should be held responsible.As it is now If you store a weapon irresponsibly and your kid gets a hold of it and in the process of showing his buddy your weapon and injures or kills that person you are liable.

The key is proper and responsible storage. The word negligence come to mind.

Here is an interesting link: http://www.saf.org/LawReviews/Ct...

Don't confuse items in your home which could be used as a weapon with actual firearms which by design are understood to be lethal weapons. Your responsibility pertaining to the later should be understood.

9/11 terrorists gained control of aircraft and used them in the commission of a crime, The Airlines were still held accountable and liable to an extent, they and their insurers had to defend themselves in court.

SamAdams

I agree that leaving the doors unlocked and the keys in the car are an invitation. But what if the doors ARE locked and the keys NOT in the car? Is it STILL my fault if somebody takes it? And I'm not talking your "permissive usage" here. I'm well aware that's a different story.

So. My house is locked up. Neither my X-box NOR my guns are readily or carelessly available to ANYbody. And yet somebody takes a sledgehammer to the back door. Do you blame me, now, for the robbery? Or just for the beating committed using the baseball bat the thieves stole from my son's room (where, wonder of wonders, it was actually put away and NOT out in plain sight to "tempt" anybody)?

P.S. As far as X-boxes not having regulation, you're right; they don't. But the ugly head of censorship is rearing yet again where X-box (and other) games are concerned. I didn't use that as an example quite as cavalierly as you seem to think!

looking around

I replied a few links that shed light on negligence and liability written by experts in the field. Don't take responsibility lightly unless you feel you have an iron clad defense.

Contango

“In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all – security, comfort, and freedom.

When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again.”

― Edward Gibbon

Eph 2 8-10

What is needed is people control.....

Contango

Are there already laws on the books making it illegal to shoot school children?

No new gun laws - better enforcement of the present ones.

YoMamma

People control! We need background checks to regulate scum bags and illiterate people from propagating! Would background checks have prevented the recent knife attacks? You see those don't make the news. Their not as dramatic as a shooting.

Kimo

Up or down vote by the people.

end of story.
.

Contango

Remember: Chancellor Hitler was popularly elected.

EOS.

In Illinois, the elected members of the Democrat (Socialist) Party have ignored the 2nd Amend. for decades.

SURE, "this time" is different. :)

SamAdams

Kimo, do you know why the Bill of Rights exists? It didn't, you know, when the Constitution was written and distributed for ratification. It ended up being appended before any vote to ensure that the tyranny of the majority could never, NEVER infringe the unalienable rights of the individual.

Shall we vote next on what religion(s) are "inappropriate" or "unpalatable" or "nonsensical?" If not, WHY not? I mean, if the majority votes to outlaw a given religion, doesn't that make it okay?

Maybe we should vote on whether or not we should get rid of the Fifth Amendment. If you did something wrong, shouldn't you HAVE to confess? I'm betting you could get a majority vote on that one any day of the week!

On the other hand, why waste time doing this piecemeal? Let's just outlaw FREEDOM! Yeah, THAT'S the ticket!

"Liberty requires responsibility. That is why most men dread it." George Bernard Shaw

Contango

In the liberal-socialist alternative Constitutional universe, the 2nd Amendment guarantees a citizen's right to hunt.

SamAdams

I'm sure that's the understandable result of "the Founding Fathers couldn't possibly have known about modern-day weapons — they just wanted us to be able to have muskets!" argument.

Not being unreasonable, I'm willing to make a deal with that particular crowd. If they give up their freedom of speech on the Internet (which SURELY the Founding Fathers couldn't have imagined); and if they give up their Fourth Amendment rights where GPS tracking and computers is concerned (even Benjamin Franklin might be surprised by those little marvels!); and if they give up their Sixth Amendment rights (California's already working that one by suggesting illegals serve on juries); and if they're willing to set aside their Eighth Amendment rights to punish law-abiding gun owners for crimes committed with stolen weapons; well, frankly, I'm pretty sure THEY deserve what they get. It's just the REST of us who don't!

arnmcrmn

This thing would get shot down easily by the people voting.

Turduckenbreath

Nobody says universal background checks will end gun violence. But it will help. Nobody claims limiting the size of magazines will end gun violence. But it will likely save some lives.

These are simple, easy common sense measures. If criminals get guns illegally it gives law enforcement something to charge them with before a crime is committed, instead of waiting until after the crime is committed.

This is not rocket science, people.

I take a vitamin pill every day. It won't prevent cancer and I still have to exercise and watch what I eat. But it helps.

Please think for yourselves. You don't need the libs and you sure don't need the NRA to figure this out.

Contango

Read some stories on how firearms saved lives:

http://www.nraila.org/gun-laws/a...

News that the socialist controlled media doesn't want the public to hear about.

looking around

Really! A link to the NRA.......that's not biased is it? How about some links to stories about gun owners using bad judgment and consequently being charge with criminal charges, Like the Tampa block watch case in court now. How about weapons recovered by law enforcement being traced back to irresponsible owners? The NRA has run those story's as a regular feature in their rag for decades but they seldom report the full story or aftermath of events.

Here is something to think about: http://www.insureme.com/insuranc...

Contango

@ looking around:

Merely attempting to demean the source does not disprove the content.

SamAdams

Okay, ignore the NRA. Fair enough. Just set yourself a Google news alert for "self defense," "gun self defense," and similar phrases. I regularly see a dozen stories a DAY, and from a variety of sources.

Conservatively speaking, guns SAVE between 1 and 2 million lives a year. Sorta makes any murder stats pale in comparison, don't it...

looking around

In your example, a person legally owning a gun uses deadly force to thwart a crime being committed against him, was the perpetrator armed? If so where do you suppose he got the weapon? You better understand the laws pertaining to the use of deadly force. I have nothing against a legally armed citizen protecting himself or another if justified, but be prepared to defend your actions and face the liability if it is found you were not within your rights. . My big issue is with people not being a responsible gun owner....I've seen to much of it. It amazes me how many gun owners take their responsibility so lightly and their supposed rights so literally.

Here is something to think about: http://www.insureme.com/insuranc...

The Big Dog's back

sam, you see a dozen stories a day because it's the same story bouncing around the right wing echo chamber.

SamAdams

Thanks for clarifying. I was unaware that "Kansas" was just another word for "Florida!" I also had no clue that the AP represents the "right wing echo chamber." You might want to contact them to let THEM know. I'm pretty sure they're convinced they're just the opposite!

Thanks again —

Kottage Kat

Contango,
Good read
Bookmarked this for future reference
Thank u 4 posting
Kat

shucks

rubbish from a relative

Centauri

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