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Washington may become gun model.

Byline: Rachel La Corte

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Washington voters decisively backed expanded background checks for guns, a victory for advocates of stricter gun laws who say they will use the momentum from this win to pursue similar measures in other states.

With the passage of Initiative 594, Washington joins six other states and the District of Columbia with laws that require universal background checks for all sales and transfers of firearms, though it is the first to pass such a law through a citizen-driven initiative on the ballot.

Other states have varying laws on expansion beyond what federal law requires, including Oregon, which requires a background check for purchases at gun shows. An anti-expansion measure on Tuesday's ballot failed in Washington state.

''If legislative bodies won't act, the people will,'' said Zach Silk, the campaign manager for Washington's expansion measure. ''We proved that. I think that should give a lot of inspiration to these other states where they've tried legislative efforts and have run into reluctant officials.''

The Washington state measure received significant support from Everytown for Gun Safety, a group funded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg that is already looking to replicate the initiative's success.

John Feinblatt, the president of Everytown, said Wednesday that Washington state ''is going to be a model for other states.''

Feinblatt said that Everytown is part of a coalition that is gathering signatures due next week for a measure, which, like with Washington's ''Initiative to the Legislature,'' will start with Nevada's Legislature and head to the 2016 ballot if lawmakers don't act.

Arizona and Maine are among the states the group is eyeing for similar campaigns.

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Author:La Corte, Rachel
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Nov 7, 2014
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