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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."

NRA Says It's 'Very Committed' To Defeating I-594

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The National Rifle Association says it’s “very committed” to defeating a background check measure on Washington’s November ballot.

But the gun rights group says it has no plans to compete financially with the campaign in favor of Initiative 594.

So far, the NRA has reported raising and spending only about $200,000 to defeat I-594. Compare that to the more than $7 million raised by the “yes” side.

NRA spokeswoman Catherine Mortensen said much of what her organization is doing is not the kind of spending that shows up in campaign finance reports.

“What we’re really focused on is our grassroots effort,” she explained. “We also send communications to our members in Washington state and that kind of spending wouldn’t be reflected in what you’re seeing either.”

Mortensen actually estimated the NRA has spent nearly twice what’s been reported to Washington’s Public Disclosure Commission. That includes funding two fulltime staff members on the ground.

As for whether the NRA will fund No on I-594 TV ads, Mortensen put that in the “wait and see” category.

There is a competing gun rights measure on Washington’s ballot. But the NRA has taken a neutral stance on Initiative 591.

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."