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Government and Politics
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."

Signatures Submitted For Dueling Gun Measures In Washington

Austin Jenkins
Northwest News Network
Alan Gottlieb of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms poses with boxes of petitions for Initiative 591, a gun rights initiative.

Washington voters can expect a pair of dueling gun-related measures on next fall’s ballot.

Sponsors of a gun rights initiative submitted nearly 350,000 signatures Thursday. Just last month, supporters of a universal background check measure did their own signature drop.

Thirteen boxes labeled "Save Your Gun: Yes on 591" were loaded onto a cart and trucked into the Washington Secretary of State’s office. Initiative 591 would prohibit the state from confiscating a gun without due process. It would also bar state background checks that go beyond federal standards.

Alan Gottlieb is with the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. He says Initiative 591 is a counter measure to Initiative 594, the universal background check requirement.

“We think the voters are really, really smart and they deserve a choice and we’re giving them a choice," says Gottlieb. "They can see a legitimate, uniform national background check type system that could work or that we could go to in the future versus something that’s very draconian that will not work.”

Supporters of the background check measure say they’re simply trying to close loopholes in current law.

Both measures would first go to the legislature. If lawmakers don’t act, they would end up on the fall 2014 ballot.