A Win for Gun Violence Prevention in Washington State!

November 6, 2014
Yesterday, along with the US Senate and House of Representative elections and numerous elections on the state level, voters in Washington state chose not to stand silently by any longer in the face of gun violence. Ballot Initiative I-594 to institute universal background checks including for private sales in Washington passed by an overwhelming majority of 59.7% while the counter-initiative that would have prevented background checks in Washington State failed resoundingly. Laws similar to this one have been passed by other states, including last year in Maryland where the new law has already led to a significant drop in gun deaths state-wide. As the Religious Action Center’s Deputy Director, Rachel Laser wrote earlier this month in the Huffington Post: “Each of us - gun owner or not- has an obligation to combat this national epidemic. As Reform Jews, we feel a particular responsibility. We take to heart the words we read in the book of Exodus that command: "Thou shalt not kill."” Leading up to November 4, Reform congregations in the state marched with a diverse group of interfaith communities in the Seattle area  from Temple de Hirsch Sinai to the King County Administration Building to cast their ballots. Washington state voters have not stayed silent, they have not stood idly by while people around them were shot and killed by guns. Instead, they spoke out and demanded background checks yesterday. In a statement today Rachel Laser wrote of the Washington State ballot initiative and other initiatives in Nebraska and Massachusetts: “we welcome the resounding success of three key state ballot initiatives that will enhance America's safety and well-being.” But even with this victory, there are still major battles to be fought for the prevention of gun violence. If you live in Minneapolis, Miami, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, St. Louis or Portland, take action here and ask your mayor to sign onto a Request for Information to the gun industry for safe and smarter gun regulations. If you do not live in one of those targeted regions, you can see if your mayor has signed onto the Request for Information here and use our sample letters found by entering your zip code in the action alert to ask your mayor to sign on or thanking them if they have already.

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