Poll: Strong support for WA gun background checks

SEATTLE - A new poll shows strong support among Washington voters for a ballot initiative that would require background checks on all firearm sales in the state.

The Elway Poll found that 70 percent of people were inclined to vote for Initiative 594. The same poll showed that 46 percent of people were inclined to vote for a competing measure, Initiative 591, which would prevent Washington state from adopting background-check laws stricter than the national standard.

Thirty-two percent of respondents said they were inclined to vote for both initiatives in November.

The poll of 506 registered voters was taken July 8-11. The margin of error was plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

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.

Both ballot measures began as initiatives to the Legislature. The House and Senate held public hearings on both earlier this year but did not advance them out of committees, meaning voters will decide the issues in the fall.

According the Public Disclosure Commission, the people in favor of new background check requirements for gun purchases - I-594 - have raised nearly $2.7 million. The groups opposing that initiative and supporting one on protecting gun rights - I-591 - have raised about $800,000.


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