Backers of Initiative 594’s call for universal background checks for gun buyers will have former congresswoman Gabby Giffords’ support during a hearing on two gun measures Tuesday. Gifford, a three-term Arizona Democrat, was shot and gravely wounded in January 2011 in a mass shooting during a political event that killed six people near Tucson, Ariz.
Giffords’ husband, Mark Kelly, also is expected to testify on I-594 and I-591.
The House Judiciary Committee hearing is at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in the John L. O’Brien Building’s Hearing Room A.
I-594 is one of two gun-related measures likely headed to the ballot in November. I-591 would bar additional background check requirements unless there was a national standard, which is unlikely. But neither measure is expected to get acted on by Washington’s divided Legislature during the 2014 session.
Interests from outside the state have long been expected to enter the campaigns on both sides of the gun safety debate – at least financially. The arrival of Giffords - who skydived earlier this month on the three-year anniversary of the shooting - shows that involvement is well under way.
The Office of the Secretary of State has certified I-594 for the ballot; elections workers are checking signatures on I-591 which is also expected to be certified soon.