Steve and Connie Ballmer want the state of Washington to enforce stricter gun-buying laws, and they’re putting up some dough in order to make it happen.
The former Microsoft CEO and his wife have poured in nearly $600,000 to the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, a coalition that wants to require background checks for Washington residents who buy firearms at gun shows and online.
As noted by the Seattle PI, the pro-594 campaign — which has raised $3.4 million — was formed after the tragedy in Newton, Conn., in 2012. While licensed dealers in Washington are required to conduct background checks on gun buyers, those who purchase firearms from private sellers or online can do so without the same background checks.
Initiative 594, which will be on the November ballot, would close what the alliance calls a “loophole.”
“Law enforcement agencies and public safety officials agree that this loophole promotes illegal gun trafficking and enables individuals with criminal intent to purchase firearms,” the alliance notes. “This initiative will simply ensure that a background check is conducted for every gun purchase.”
Seattle-based venture capitalist Nick Hanauer is also a supporter for I-594 and has contributed nearly $400,000. Hanauer found himself in the news last month after a supporter for Initiative-591, a competing measure that would prevent Washington from enacting background check requirements that are not required by federal law, brought up Hanauer’s Jewish faith when comparing I-594 to Nazi Germany.
This is the most that the Ballmer family has contributed to an initiative. Connie Ballmer put $500,000 toward a public charter school ballot measure that passed in 2012, while Steve Ballmer contributed $425,000 to stop an initiative in 2010 that would have implemented a state income tax for the wealthiest 1 percent in Washington.
Meanwhile, Ballmer’s $2 billion purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers NBA franchise became official today.