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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."

Gun Rights Lobby Declares Victory In Olympia

Colin Fogarty
Northwest News Network files

Gun rights advocates are declaring victory after several firearms-related measures failed to advance in the Washington Legislature. But gun control advocates say they see momentum on their side.

One of the proposals would have required an “enhanced” background check to purchase so-called “assault weapons” and required that buyers be 21. The other would have made it a crime to not secure a gun that’s then used by a child or someone else who’s not supposed to have a gun to harm themselves or others.

The Firearms Policy Coalition cheered the defeats in a statement headlined: “Gun Ban Fail … Tearing Down [the] ‘West Coast Wall of Gun Control.’”

The Alliance for Gun Responsibility said it was “disappointed” the gun storage measure didn’t get a vote, but also encouraged by the support the idea did receive.

Several gun rights bills also did not advance this year, including a proposal to allow licensed concealed pistol holders inside stadiums.

The Alliance for Gun Responsibility has passed two recent gun-related ballot measures in Washington. In 2014, voters approved Initiative 594 to require background checks for all gun sales including person-to-person sales. Last year, the Alliance sponsored Initiative 1491 to allow judges to confiscate the guns of people deemed an imminent risk to themselves or others.

Both of those ideas started out in the Washington Legislature, but ended up on the ballot.

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."