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Mapping the election: Whatcom County divided on gun background checks, rival measure

Whatcom County voters approved expanding background checks on gun sales and transfers and rejected a measure that would have prevented any expansion beyond a federal standard.

But by mapping the precinct results, the divide in Whatcom County is clear - voters in Bellingham and Ferndale favored the background checks, while voters in smaller cities and the more rural areas of the county favored less gun control.

Initiative 594 requires background checks on all sales and transfers, including private transactions and many loans and gifts. Like federal law, Washington law currently requires checks for sales or transfers by licensed dealers but not for purchases from private sellers, like those who sell at gun shows or to friends. The expansion measure was designed to include most private sales and transfers. It has exceptions for emergency gun transfers concerning personal safety, gifts between family members, antiques, and loans for hunting.

The rival measure, Initiative 591, would have prevented the state from expanding checks beyond what's called for in federal law. It also would have prohibited the confiscation of firearms without due process.

The National Rifle Association raised nearly half a million dollars to fight the expansion measure, but did not endorse I-591, which spent just over a million dollars on its campaign.

INITIATIVE 594: WHATCOM COUNTY RESULTS

How the map works: Areas shaded in green voted yes. Areas shaded in yellow voted no. To see individual precinct totals, click on that area of the map. To zoom in, use the controls embedded in the lefthand side of the map.

See larger map.


INITIATIVE 591: WHATCOM COUNTY RESULTS

How the map works: Areas shaded in green voted yes. Areas shaded in yellow voted no. To see individual precinct totals, click on that area of the map. To zoom in, use the controls embedded in the lefthand side of the map.

See larger map.


Initiative Votes Yes Pct. No Pct.
591 Whatcom 29,107 45.59% 34,744 54.41%
  State 633,940 45.17% 769,505 54.83%
594 Whatcom 37,819 58.78% 26,523 41.22%
  State 842,997 59.52% 573,210 40.48%
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