Several days after a mass shooting in Las Vegas, Washington State Rep. Laurie Jinkins (D-Tacoma) described gun safety as "an issue in which the legislature is wildly, wildly out of step" with voters. In recent years, Washington state voters have approved gun safety measures by wide margins, expanding background checks and creating extreme risk protection orders. Meanwhile, state lawmakers has stalled or ignored virtually every gun safety proposal, including a ban on assault weapons.
A new poll funded by advocates for more gun safety measures backs up Jinkins' assessment.
In a telephone poll of 500 likely voters, 65 percent said they would support "new laws that heavily restrict access to semi-automatic firearms." Seventy-nine percent said they support a ban on bump stocks, 75 percent said they supported requiring firearm licenses, and 87 percent said they support required safety training before firearm purchases.
According to the polling memo from EMC Research, a majority of respondents in swing districts supported all four of those measures.
The memo defines swing districts as those represented by a mix of Republicans and Democrats: LDs 5, 19, 28, 30, 35, 44, 45, and 47. (The 45th is the key district where a senate seat up for election this year will determine whether Republicans maintain control of the state senate.)
In those districts, 68 percent support restricting semi-automatic weapons, 76 percent support a ban on bump stocks, 81 percent support licenses, and 89 percent support required training. A majority of Republicans support three of the measures, but Republicans are split on restricting semi-automatic, according to the memo.
The poll was conducted by cell phones and landlines between October 9th and 14th, 2017. (The Las Vegas shooting was October 1.) The margin of error is 4.4 percentage points.
The poll was funded by Civic Action, an arm of Nick Hanauer's think tank Civic Ventures. In a press release about the poll, Civic Action President Zach Silk hinted at a coming legislative effort or ballot measure. "Now is the time for bold action to make our communities safer," Silk said. "Voters are ready, and we’ll keep pushing to see that happen."