- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 9, 2014

The gun-control advocacy group with ties to former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Thursday it will spend another million dollars in support of a ballot initiative in Washington state to increase gun-purchase background checks — following up on an earlier million-dollar investment.

Everytown for Gun Safety is kicking in to the “Yes on 594” campaign in Washington state, which is working to back a ballot initiative that would expand gun-purchase background checks to most private sales. Right now, only purchases from licensed dealers are required to go through the checks.

“When it comes to gun safety this election, the Washington that matters most is Washington State,” said John Feinblatt, the president of Everytown. “It’s the only place in the country where voters will have an up-or-down vote on background checks, which we’ve been fighting for in D.C. and states across the country.”

The Washington initiative has attracted a number of well-heeled donors, including Bill and Melinda Gates, who kicked in $1 million, and Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen, who has contributed $500,000.

In announcing the formation of Everytown in April, which combined his Mayors Against Illegal Guns group with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Mr. Bloomberg pledged to spend $50 million this year to promote gun control efforts through Everytown’s educational and advocacy efforts and through personal expenditures. But precisely how such an investment in the hot-button issue will affect the outcome of closely-watched national races is unclear.

Washington is also in the unique position this year of having competing gun-related ballot items; Initiative 591 would bar the confiscation of guns without due process and prevent background checks on the recipient of a gun unless a uniform national standard is required.

A bill in the U.S. Senate that would have expanded the checks to cover more private transactions failed last year.

The National Rifle Association is actively working to help defeat Initiative 594.

“594 is a very bad initiative and the focus ought to be on defeating what will negatively impact the law-abiding gun owners of Washington state,” spokesman Andrew Arulanandam recently told ABC.

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