Bill & Melinda Gates donate $1 million to support I-594 gun background check measure

SEATTLE -- Bill and Melinda Gates donated $1 million to support Initiative 594, a measure on the November ballot in Washington that would require background checks for all private firearms sales, including those at gun shows or on the Internet, a Gates spokeswoman said Monday.

“We are pleased to join many others making a donation to the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility to support Initiative 594 on the November ballot," the Gates said in a joint statement. "We believe it will be an effective and balanced approach to improving gun safety in our state by closing existing loopholes for background checks.”

It was disclosed last week that Seahawks owner Paul Allen had donated $500,000 in support of I-594. reported that Seattle-area venture capitalist Nick Hanauer had also donated $1 million and Steve and Connie Balmer had given $600,000.

I-594 has raised $6 million, reported.

A competing gun initiative on the November ballot is I-591, which states it would be "unlawful for any government agency to require background checks on the recipient of a firearm unless a uniform national standard is required."