Washington citizens step up because state Legislature won’t | IN OUR OPINION

When leaders fail to act, the people will not.

Earlier this year, the Washington Legislature failed to vote on a proposed law that would have required background checks on most private sales of firearms. The bill never made it to the House floor for a vote.

Earlier this week, however, a coalition of interfaith and denominational faith leaders from across Washington announced they were launching an effort to put an initiative before the Legislature in 2014 to require criminal background checks for firearm sales in the state.

The new effort was spurred, in part, by the unsuccessful attempt to get state lawmakers to pass similar legislation during the regular 2013 Session in the aftermath of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, where 20 first-graders and six adults were killed.

This week, representatives of the coalition announced they would not wait for another tragedy before they took action to increase restrictions on gun sales.

“We will no longer wait as another family grieves the death of a loved one, as another youth is shot down on our streets. We will not wait for another Café Racer, or another Sandy Hook,” said Rabbi Daniel Weiner of Temple De Hirsch Sinai. “The time has come for sensible violence protection measures.”

The push for an initiative has broad bipartisan support, as it should. Preventing gun violence is a goal that transcends politics.

Organizers of the initiative plan to launch their campaign  at the end of this month, and will have until January to collect signatures.

Washington residents who want common sense gun reforms should be grateful that even if the Legislature fails again to vote on enhanced background checks, that the initiative will then advance to a public vote in the 2014 General Election.


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