Did Governor and Giffords stymie vote on background checks?

  • By Jerry Cornfield
  • Tuesday, March 12, 2013 10:36am
  • Local News

Monday’s inaction on a House bill to expand backgrounds checks for gun purchases may not have been solely because supporters lacked the votes to pass it.

As Monday wore into Monday night, it became apparent Gov. Jay Inslee had roiled the emotional waters in the chambers with his D.C.-style lobbying effort behind House Bill 1588

Inslee showing up in the wings in search of votes from undecided lawmakers wasn’t the problem. His involving of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was wounded in a January 2011 shooting in Arizona, is what didn’t sit well with a few members. As their mood soured, chances for a vote did too.

For example, Giffords dialed up Rep. Maureen Walsh, R-Walla Walla, who sponsored the bill but has since decided to vote against it. Giffords got Walsh’s private cell phone number from Inslee – a move for which a member of his staff later apologized.

Other House members got calls from Giffords too.

Meanwhile Rep. Steve Kirby, D-Tacoma, quipped to the Seattle Times about a promised call from Vice President Joe Biden. “He doesn’t even live in my district!”

Monday is in the rear-view mirror and the anticipation of a vote begins anew today.

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