The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up | Manage  Green editions icon Green editions


HeraldNet Headlines
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.
Published: Wednesday, January 29, 2014, 1:00 a.m.
In Our View/Rep. Gabby Giffords on I-594

On responsible gun ownership

Politics has its own story arc. When it comes to public safety and criminal background checks for firearm sales, Washington just reached its second-act turning point.
Tuesday afternoon, former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, testified before the Washington state House Judiciary Committee on behalf of I-594, an initiative that requires all citizens pass the same background check as they would at a standard gun store. The mission, one that 79 percent of Washingtonians support, is to extend the existing backgrounder to gun shows and online sales where universal checks currently aren’t required.
Giffords, who was critically injured in a gun attack outside a Tucson Safeway in 2011 that left six dead, volunteers with her husband to advance gun safety (both are gun owners, Kelly said.)
“It’s too dangerous to wait,” said Kelly, who spoke of upholding the Western tradition of firearm ownership. The challenge is overcoming a bloviating National Rifle Association, which mutated from a Boys Life/hunting-culture institution into a paranoid, deep-pocketed embarrassment, and its attendant pitting of gun safety and gun rights advocates against each other.
Giffords, still struggling to speak as a result of her brain injury, told members of the committee, “Be bold, be courageous. The nation is counting on you.”
Alas, don’t hold your breath. While the Northwest propels a national conversation on responsible gun ownership, courage and the political class part ways. I-594 is an initiative to the Legislature thanks to 345,000 signatures. While it would be encouraging for the committee to go on the record and take a vote, members are much more likely to send it to the people.
Crooks and wife beaters know how to cop guns, opponents argue. Indeed they do, and Washington makes it very easy. Just race to a gun show or to an unlicensed dealer. I-594 closes that criminal-check loophole and makes it tougher for bad guys. And when purchasers comply, the sale will be exempt from sales tax. The good guys (not to mention the public more broadly) benefit.
I-594 is compelling and airtight, building in reasonable exceptions, including gifts between immediate family members, antique firearms and loaners for hunting.
Universal background checks, while far from perfect, are designed to limit criminals, domestic abusers and those living with mental illness from obtaining a firearm. When voters write act three in the November election, it should make for a satisfying ending.

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.


Herald Editorial Board

Jon Bauer, Opinion Editor:

Carol MacPherson, Editorial Writer:

Neal Pattison, Executive Editor:

Josh O'Connor, Publisher:

Have your say

Feel strongly about something? Share it with the community by writing a letter to the editor. Send letters by e-mail to, by fax to 425-339-3458 or mail to The Herald - Letters, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We'll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 250 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it. If your letter is published, please wait 30 days before submitting another. Have a question about letters? Contact Carol MacPherson at or 425-339-3472.

HeraldNet highlights

Looking for a friend?
Looking for a friend?: Animals up for adoption at the Everett shelter (7 new photos)
A haircut for a dollar?
A haircut for a dollar?: At Everett barber school, it'll only cost you a hair
What's your number?
What's your number?: Find out what your Seahawks jersey says about you
Cooking for kickoff
Cooking for kickoff: Football-themed recipes for your Super Bowl crowd