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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Universal Gun Checks Proposal Gains Support In Washington Legislature

Austin Jenkins
Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The idea of requiring background checks for all gun sales in Washington appears to be gaining traction. Nearly half of the Washington state Senate Monday signed onto a universal background check proposal.

Co-signers to the legislation include Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom, a Democrat. Just last month he seemed cool to a similar universal background check proposal from the Washington House.

“Obviously, it’s a touchy subject and we want to make sure that we have a comprehensive solution not just sound bites that we can run off and say we solved the problem knowing full well that we didn’t.”

But now Tom and even a couple of members of his Republican-dominated majority coalition have joined most Senate Democrats to sponsor the universal background check measure.

Tom has also signed his name to another gun violence proposal. It would expand the state’s reckless endangerment law to including leaving a loaded gun where a child could get it.

On the Web:

SB 5711: Universal background checks - Washington Legislature
SB 5710: Reckless endangerment - Washington Legislature

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."