Major State Gun Proposal Could Go To Voters

(AP) - Supporters of a plan to expand background checks on gun sales are more optimistic about the bill's fate after securing another key vote.

Rep. David Sawyer of Tacoma (D) was opposed to the bill yesterday but said this morning he changed his mind, saying he's wanted to give law enforcement/ prosecutors funding to go after felons who try to acquire guns. The bill would require background checks for private gun transactions.

Representative Jamie Pedersen (D) of Seattle said today that he expected the state House would take up the measure later in the day. Pedersen said he plans to add a referendum clause to his bill. He says the move was necessary in order to secure enough votes to pass the measure out of his chamber.

He also said he's confident that supporters of the bill will be able to defend it at the ballot box, even if the National Rifle Association leads an effort to stop it.

Supporters have been straining to corral a few extra votes that would give the bill majority support in the chamber.

The bill would require background checks for private gun transactions.

Gun buyers currently must undergo a background check when they purchase a weapon from a federally licensed firearms dealer.