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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."

Washington School Shooting Comes As Voters Decide Gun Measures

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Colin Fogarty
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Northwest News Network files

The shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School Friday comes as Washington voters are about to decide two competing gun-related ballot measures.

In fact, next week two parents who lost children in the Sandy Hook school shooting are scheduled to be in Seattle. They will campaign for Initiative 594 to expand background checks.

The background check campaign put out a statement shortly after the shooting. It said, in part: “While the facts of today’s shooting are still unclear ... It is up to all of us to come together and work to reduce gun violence.”

Cheryl Stumbo is the sponsor of Initiative 594 and a shooting survivor. Stumbo acknowledges that most school shooters obtain their guns from home or a relative.

“594 if and when it passes is obviously not going to prevent all gun violence in our state, but it is a way for us to do something,” she said.

Stumbo said she’s convinced if I-594 passes it will save some lives.

Initiative 591 is the competing gun rights measure on Washington’s ballot. It would prevent the state from adopting a background check requirement that goes beyond what federal law requires. That campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

The National Rifle Association also held back in contrast to gun control advocates who were vocal in the hours after the Marysville shooting.