Gun control advocates to reveal initiative plans Monday

The Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility will announce Monday if it will take its fight for tighter background checks on gun sales to the ballot this fall or next year.

Alliance members will reveal their plans at a 9:30 a.m. news conference in Seattle’s Town Hall.

Snohomish County Sheriff John Lovick and several religious leaders will be taking part in the event.

Members of the alliance lobbied lawmakers earlier this year to pass a bill to require background checks on most private sales of firearms. Today, background checks are required when buying a weapon from licensed firearms dealer.

That bill never received a vote in the state House where it had support of most Democrats and one Republican, Rep. Mike Hope of Lake Stevens. It never had enough Democratic votes to pass.

Leaders of the alliance, which formed following the killings at a Connecticut elementary school, have been hashing out whether to push for expanded background checks with an initiative this year or wait until 2014. Waiting – which is what they’ve been hinting at for weeks — would give them time to build up a campaign war chest to combat what they expect will be strong opposition from the NRA. It also would give them a chance to ask the Legislature in 2014 to try again to pass the bill.

Meanwhile, executives of Washington CeaseFire, the state’s oldest gun control group, urged alliance leaders to move ahead this year. No representatives from the group are listed as participants in Monday’s event.

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