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Background Checks Could Expand With New Initiative


Advocates seeking to expand the use of background checks on gun sales in Washington state have turned in more than 250,000 signatures, the first batch of petitions they plan to submit before a January deadline to qualify the initiative to the Legislature.

Eleven boxes of petitions for Initiative 594 were brought to the Secretary of State’s election’s office on Wednesday morning by supporters, many wearing “Yes on 594″ stickers.

The plan would require background checks for online sales and private transactions, such as those that occur at gun shows. The checks would be conducted at federally licensed firearm dealers, where people already must undergo such scrutiny before purchasing a new weapon.

An initiative requires at least 246,372 valid signatures of registered state voters to be certified, though the secretary of state’s office suggests at least 320,000 as a buffer for any duplicate or invalid signatures.

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