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

Contango

High capacity mags come in REAL handy for feral hog families.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K...

Hogs are overrunning Europe and attacking children thanks to kind hearted environmentalists and excessively restrictive gun laws which make sport hunting extremely expensive if not impossible.

The Big Dog's back

Trolling again?

4shizzle

Weak argument, Cont

Shattered Mind

"I'd rather take my chances against a ten round clip than against a 30 round clip."

Seriously? Everyone I know can do the job with one round. But it's got nothing to do with standard magazine capacity (which is what the gun comes with, by the way) rather it's a matter of choice. The thirty round magazine comes as standard equipment. What you are arguing for is to make us spend more ( why do democrats always think spending more solves problems?) for a REDUCED capacity magazine. And while we're on that, the guns don't use clips... or more properly called stripper clips. A modern firearm uses magazines. You use stripper clips to fill the magazines, then place the magazine into the gun.

Anyhow, even the most inept clod can usually reload a spare magazine before you can even start to stand up in case you were thinking of stupidly rushing someone who went over the edge. Never mind anyone who has been shooting for awhile... They can usually slam a fresh magazine in place before the empty one hits the ground. Besides, the cure for reduced magazine capacity is just more magazines.

But it matters little. Nobody was talking about confiscating standard 30 round magazines... Only the sale of new 30 round magazines. The only people inconvienced would be a new owner. And if he really wanted 30 round magazines there would be hundreds if not thousands ( hundreds of thousands?) of magazines available on a new black market that would spring up to fill that need. Ever hear of Prohibition?

S w Rand 2016

I would like to clarify something to anyone who sees your remarks, where you say no one is talking about confiscating 30 round magazines, and may mistake it as a response to my own comment as well. If my understanding is correct, you are merely responding to Turduckenbreath because of his/her tendency to preclude any logical argument against banning 30-round magazines.
As for myself, I had even commented (on a previous SR article regarding the Senate vote) about how many of the Gun Control advocates were arguing as if background checks were all this were ever about (in their attempts to paint Gun Rights advocates out as being paranoid). And they were doing this before AND after Senator Feinstein's "assault weapons" ban proposal (which would've effectively banned the future sale of 90% of the handguns and rifles which Americans own and purchase) was shot down and the Senate switched over to merely talking about universal background checks and mental health.
So I just wanted to clarify, to others, that I am not jumping on any "they are trying to take our guns again" bandwagon. In fact, it seems to me that this new development is mostly just a PR stunt in order to save face for those GC advocates who took part (whether knowingly or not) in what I just described (in the above paragraph).
However, and I am sure Contango would agree, those who may mistake your comment (to imply anything more than what it says) should take care that they not be so naive as to assume this new development would never be used as political posturing toward working around to the "assault weapons" ban again, especially when the article quotes Pedersen as saying "it would make it easier for the Legislature to do even more").

S w Rand 2016

Oh, wait. I did, in an earlier comment, refer to an "eventual confiscation." However, It should be clear that this was merely a hypothesis. Assuming a scenario where, years from now, the citizenry are nearly crippled in regards to defending against criminal organizations. And that, in such a scenario, the final solution would possibly be an attempt at total confiscation (which is a terrible risk to take as, again, it would likely fail to stop those organizations and make it that much worse for the law-abiding).

bullydogs1971

good idea...if the voting machines were not already rigged....wake up people!

Turduckenbreath

Larry Correia writes about magic, werewolves, and vampires. WHY would I care what some fantasy writer has to say about anything?

Of course, if background checks are relaxed, werewolves and vampires will have their rootin tootin six-shooters and Larry's magic will make sense to folks like you.

S w Rand 2016

re: Turduckenbreath
From Larry Correia's article that I linked: "A little background for those of you who don’t know me, and this is going to be extensive so feel free to skip the next few paragraphs"
He goes on to say that "I am now a professional novelist. However, before that....." and he goes on to write six healthy-sized paragraphs about his extensive qualifications to speak on this topic.

I cannot tell if you are being willfully ignorant or if you are really that terrified of being wrong and so, instead of reading the article, you decided to Google his name and proceeded to both begin and end your search for knowledge at Amazon.com.

Turduckenbreath

And families of feral hogs? Man, you've got to warn a guy before saying something like that. I almost spewed my beer clean across the room. Yeah, lotsa feral hogs around here. Real problem.

BUT, giving your observation all the respect it deserves, I suppose after the next school shooting where some guy with a 30 round mag guns down a couple dozen little kids, we can take comfort in knowing the feral hog population is under control.

S w Rand 2016

I haven't looked into it but I heard there were later reports, including reports from NBC, which indicated that the Sandy Hook shooter used handguns.
Either way, I'm sure Contango would agree that you don't seem to give any observation (which doesn't agree with your cause) any respect at all.

It would seem that, when you see a mountain of evidence against you, you separate all of the aspects into molehills which you refer to as "exceptions," failing to address the issue comprehensively. I guess we would have to call that "making molehills out of a mountain."
That's a good way to progress, but it certainly is not in the interest of America when you use it in an attempt to REgress (in regards to personal defense and even national defense).

And, on that note, could you give us your reaction to http://www.paul.senate.gov/?p=pr... ? While there is a brief introductory paragraph, I refer you to the short video clip of Senate footage which, by the end of the remarks, gives another example of how common sense solutions seem to evade those of us who are not jealous of our 2nd amendment. (and, by jealous, I refer to the lesser known definition which is "solicitous or vigilant in maintaining or guarding something: example: The American people are jealous of their freedom." http://dictionary.reference.com/...)

Contango

Turduckenbreath writes:

"Yeah, lotsa feral hogs around here. Real problem"

Yea, they are:

http://www.10tv.com/content/stor...

You asked: Who needs a 30 round clip? I answered.

CT had some of the toughest gun laws in the country like an "assault weapons" ban - didn't help.

swiss cheese kat's picture
swiss cheese kat

Increased background checks would not have prevented the Sandy Hook shooting.
Not sure what you gun hating nitwits don't understand about that fact.

A background check doesn't tell anyone about your intention to become a future killer. Criminals don’t care about laws.
There are plenty of laws on the books that would prevent murders and mass-murders.

kURTje

Let the people speak/VOTE. Its that E-z.

Shattered Mind

Not really. Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups. Look at what we have for a president to confirm that thought.

S w Rand 2016

So, I previously took no interest in the subject of universal background checks. My only concern was Senator Feinstein's "assault weapons" ban proposal. But, since that seems to be off the table for now, I've decided to take interest in what exactly a universal background check system would entail.
http://www.policymic.com/article... is where I am starting.
excerpt: ""Most Americans support background checks, but they … have very little clue about what that means," said David Kopel, a gun law expert and adjunct Constitutional law professor at the University of Denver. "When you phrase something in an attractive way like 'universal background checks,' who wouldn’t be for it? But if you get into the details, there’s a bit more grey-area.""

Apparently, universal background checks would require a national database of every American's medical information (including mental health status and substance abuse history) to be effective. So, it doesn't just affect gun owners/purchasers. It requires everyone's info to be in the database.
Is that OK with everyone? I dunno what I think about it, personally.

kURTje

Errrrr. All can just enter the military then? NO. There are valid reasons for people NOT to be an aviator, or have access to sensitive information. Or using that same premise let anyone become a doctor or a heavy equipment operator. Sadly though many are allowed to operate (poorly) a vehicle on America's roadways.

TrollingRageind...

today's military is mostly just weak minded people that let their instructors brainwash them, if they weren't already brain washed, into thinking they are doing something meaningful flying to the middle east to fight a stupid, un american war

Shattered Mind

Huh? Wow... Just wow. I can't believe you just said that.

kURTje

So we got another warrior hater. Typical of much in America.....weak.

Ned Mandingo

Lies lies lies, the state of ohio like all other states already have background checks.
These tactics are used to fool people who know nothing about the facts of this issue. "It's for the children of sandy hook" is one of their favorites, what a lie. Adam Lanza was denied gun purchases in the weeks leading up to the shootings. The background checks worked, that's why he murdered someone and stole her guns. Please put it on a ballot so it can be defeated, again.

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