By Jerry Cornfield
Rep. Mike Hope of Lake Stevens, the only Republican in the state House to support a universal background bill, is getting recognized by the state’s largest gun control organization.
Washington CeaseFire has named Hope the 2013 recipient of its Ancil Payne Civic Leader of the Year. The award, named for the longtime CeaseFire board member and former King5 president, will be presented May 8 in Seattle.
Hope co-sponsored House Bill 1588 to require background checks on persons seeking to buy a gun through a private sale. Licensed gun dealers already conduct such checks. The bill died last week when it failed to come up for a vote in the House.
Hope, a Seattle police officer, never wavered in his position in spite of pressure from the NRA which lobbied him in Olympia and targeted him in mailers sent to residents in the 44th Legislative District he represents. Another Republican, Rep. Maureen Walsh of Walla Walla, signed onto the bill but later changed her mind.
“What he did was a brave act,” said Ralph Fascitelli, president of the CeaseFire board of directors.
Fascitelli said the selection of Hope also may encourage other moderate Republican lawmakers to support the bill if it returns in the future.
“We’re not looking for saints,” he said. “We’re looking for saviors.”