In the only place where guns were directly on the ballot this past election day, Washington state voters overwhelmingly passed Initiative 594 to expand background checks to all gun sales, including online and at gun shows. A competing initiative (Initiative 591) designed to block the implementation of background checks and sponsored by the gun lobby failed 55 to 45%.
Washington became the seventh state to require background checks on all gun sales, the fifth state since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012 (Washington, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, and New York).
“The bottom line is this law will save lives. Washingtonians should sleep better tonight knowing that their state will be a safer place thanks to expanded Brady background checks,” said Brady Campaign President Dan Gross.
The organization issued a report, Washington State Officers Attacked, Ambushed & Killed by Armed Criminals, which showed that there are 39 percent fewer law enforcement officers killed by firearms in states with expanded background checks. In addition, states that have expanded background checks show 38 percent fewer women killed by intimate partners. Washington was the only state in the country where background checks were voted on directly by citizens this election day.
The last time voters cast ballots directly on background checks was in 2000, when Colorado and Oregon citizens voted to overwhelmingly pass laws that extended background checks. Colorado’s initiative passed 70 percent to 30 percent, and Oregon’s passed 62 percent to 38 percent.
The [Brady Campaign] issued a report … which showed that there are 39 percent fewer law enforcement officers killed by firearms in states with expanded background checks.
Brady President Dan Gross went on to say, “Today’s great success in Washington confirms what we already knew, that the American public, in every state of this nation, overwhelmingly supports expanding background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and other dangerous people. Now we plan to keep building on this exciting momentum, taking this issue directly to voters in more states and showing the gun lobby ‘lap dogs’ in statehouses and Congress exactly where the American people stand.”
Initiative 594 was the top electoral priority for the Brady Campaign and its Washington Chapters. The Brady Campaign was pleased to partner with the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, by placing thousands of calls to turn out voters and placing organizers on the ground to help achieve this monumental victory.
“Make no mistake, this is a huge victory for the gun violence prevention movement and for every American who wants to live in a safer nation. It is the first direct vote in years to show exactly where the American people really stand on the gun violence issue. Most importantly, it is an inspiring indication of things to come, as we work to ‘finish the job’ and expand lifesaving Brady background checks to all gun sales nationwide,” said Gross.