Saturday, January 3, 2015
Fight on Guns Is Being Taken to State Ballots
Molly Riley/Associated Press
The New York Times
The gun control movement, blocked in Congress and facing mounting losses in federal elections, is tweaking its name, refining its goals and using the same-sex marriage movement as a model to take the fight to voters on the state level.
After a victory in November on a Washington State ballot measure that will require broader background checks on gun buyers, groups that promote gun regulations have turned away from Washington and the political races that have been largely futile. Instead, they are turning their attention — and their growing wallets — to other states that allow ballot measures.
An initiative seeking stricter background checks for certain buyers has qualified for the 2016 ballot in Nevada, where such a law was passed last year by the Legislature and then vetoed by the governor. Advocates of gun safety — the term many now use instead of “gun control” — are seeking lines on ballots in Arizona, Maine and Oregon as well.
“I can’t recall ballot initiatives focused on gun policy,” said Daniel Webster, the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. “There wasn’t the money.” Colorado and Oregon approved ballot measures on background checks at gun shows after the Columbine school massacre in 1999, but the movement stalled after that.