Proponents of gun-control initiative submit 95,000 more signatures in support of universal background checks on gun purchases

An official with the Washington Office of Secretary of State said this week that supporters of Initiative 594, a gun-control measure that  would require universal background checks on gun purchases, may have submitted more than enough signatures to send the initiative to the Legislature this winter.

Brian Zylstra of the Office of Secretary of State said the state would begin checking signatures on Jan. 10.

The review is expected to take about six working days to complete.

I-594 supporters submitted an estimated 250,000 signatures in early October, and returned to Olympia with another 95,000 signatures Thursday afternoon, one day before the submission deadline for initiatives to the 2014 Legislature.

Zylstra noted that the estimated 345,000 signatures for I-594 is "far above" the minimum number of 246,372 valid voter signatures needed. The Secretary of State's Elections Division, however, recommends that initiative sponsors submit at least 325,000 signatures to provide a cushion to cover duplicate or invalid signatures.

Zylstra also said that sponsors of a competing gun-related measure, I-591, plan to bring in another 5,000 signatures Friday afternoon after submitting about 340,000 signatures in late November.

That initiative would prohibit government agencies from confiscating guns or other firearms from citizens without due process, or from requiring background checks on firearm recipients unless a uniform national standard is required.

Officials anticipate both measures have enough signatures to conduct a 3 percent random sample check instead of having to check all of the submitted signatures.

If validated, the two measures would go first to the 2014 Legislature, which could approve either or both measures as submitted, ignore or reject them and allow them to go to the 2014 General Election ballot, or write legislative alternatives that would accompany the initiatives to the ballot.

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