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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 Voters Approve Expanded Gun Background Checks

M Glasgow

Washington voters have overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure to expand background checks for person-to-person gun sales and transfers.

Initiative 594 was passing election night with 60 percent of the vote. The measure will require background checks for person-to-person gun sales and transfers in Washington. That includes gun show and internet transactions.

Current law only requires federally-licensed gun dealers to conduct these checks.

Cheryl Stumbo, a shooting survivor and the citizen sponsor of the initiative, told the crowd the fight is not over.

“We’ve closed Washington state’s background check loophole and we’re going to continue this fight for policies that reduce crime and save lives,” she said. “This movement is here to stay.”

According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Washington becomes the seventh state to require universal background checks.

A competing gun measure, Initiative 591, would have prohibited Washington from adopting a stricter background check requirement. That measure was trailing by 10 points.

Both initiatives started out as initiatives to the legislature. When the legislature failed to act, they went to the ballot.