Seahawks, Blazers owner Paul Allen donates $1M to Washington gun safety initiative

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Paul Allen is campaigning for a Washington ballot initiative to restrict sales of semiautomatic rifles and has donated $1 million to the cause. (AP)
Paul Allen is campaigning for a Washington ballot initiative to restrict sales of semiautomatic rifles and has donated $1 million to the cause. (AP)

Paul Allen, the Microsoft co-founder who owns the Seattle Seahawks and Portland Trail Blazers, announced on Monday that he is contributing $1 million to support Washington’s Initiative 1639 for gun safety reform.



What is Initiative 1639?

Initiative 1639 is a ballot proposal developed by the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, whose stated goal is to end gun violence in Washington. The intent of the initiative is to raise the minimum age to buy semiautomatic rifles and strengthen background check requirements.

Per the Alliance for Gun Responsibility:

The proposed initiative will address many of the root causes of recent tragedies by raising the age to purchase semiautomatic rifles to 21; creating an enhanced background check system similar to what is required for handguns; requiring completion of a firearm safety training course; and creating standards for secure storage to prevent guns from falling into dangerous hands.

The initiative’s web site cites some of the multitude of recent U.S. mass shootings, including Sandy Hook Elementary, Las Vegas, Pulse Night Club, Aurora, Colorado and Parkland, Florida as motivation to change the state’s laws around semiautomatic rifles. The campaign is in the signature-gathering stage with a goal of being put on the November ballot.

Allen donated $500,000 to a successful 2014 campaign to expand background checks on gun sales in Washington.

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