July 15, 2014 News

In Case You Missed It: New Elway Poll Finds Initiative 594 in Strong Position as Voters Cut Through Confusion on Background Check Initiatives

Today the Associated Press reported on new findings by the independent, non-partisan Elway Poll, which found 70% of Washingtonians intend to vote for Initiative 594, the ballot measure that will close the loophole in our law that makes it easy for convicted felons and other dangerous people to obtain firearms without a background check.

The poll, which found majority support among Republicans and Democrats as well as increased support from independents, shows Initiative 594 in a strong position with the election just over 3 months away. Initiative 591, a measure described by the Seattle Times in its July 5th editorial as “wholly inappropriate, unnecessary and potentially a reckless retreat” on background checks, was supported by only 46%.

As the Tacoma News Tribune reported:

“Pollster Stuart Elway says support for the background checks measure, I-594, remained strong compared to a previous poll in April that showed 72 percent inclined to vote for it. Meanwhile, he said voters were cooling to I-591. In April, 55 percent of voters said they were inclined to vote for the initiative that would bar Washington from going beyond the national gun background check standard, which requires checks for sales by licensed dealers but not for purchases from private sellers.”

The poll also found that the number of voters intending to vote for both Initiative 594 and Initiative 591, which are incompatible with one another, fell to 32%.

Initiative 594, which is sponsored by the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, ensures that guns sold in Washington State go through the same background check, no matter where the gun is being bought or whom it is being bought from. It closes the loophole in Washington law that allows convicted felons, domestic abusers, and the seriously mentally ill to purchase guns at gun shows or online with no questions asked. Background checks are effective at reducing crime and saving lives; states with background checks on all handgun sales see 39% fewer handgun murders of law enforcement officers and 38% fewer handgun murders of women by intimate partners. Initiative 594 uses the same system of criminal background checks that has worked well for hunters, gun owners, gun dealers and law enforcement for decades.