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In Unusual Move, Washington Attorney General Endorses Gun-Related Ballot Measure

Washington State Attorney General's office
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson is breaking with tradition and will endorse a ballot measure dealing with guns. 

The Democrat told public radio exclusively Monday that he backs a proposed initiative from the Alliance for Gun Responsibility that would raise the purchase age for semi-automatic rifles to 21 and require enhanced background checks—among other provisions.

"I’m deeply committed to this and, in general, to having common sense gun reform laws in our state," Ferguson said. "It’s outrageous what we have, it’s deeply disappointing to me that our state Legislature won’t address these issues in a forthright manner, and if that means we have go directly to the people to get these changes, then I’m behind it.”

In recent years, Ferguson has led the effort to restrict and even ban so-called “assault weapons”—but those efforts have failed in the Legislature.

Typically Ferguson doesn’t endorse ballot measures because his office writes the ballot title and summary language for initiatives. In this case, Ferguson says he’ll wall himself off from that process.

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."