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In Washington state, activists are working to collect signatures for a background-check initiative that would first go to the Legislature and then to the ballot.
Christian Sinderman, a political consultant for that initiative, said a state recall election cannot be construed as a national referendum.
"If anything, the Colorado experience tells us we're doing the right thing to seek a popular vote," Sinderman said.
Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said the recall effort in Colorado was an anomaly, but activists must be aware of the risk that lawmakers may be spooked by the results and shy away from supporting gun legislation.
Gun-control proponents are sensitive to the power of the NRA and its ability to target districts.
"The unfortunate reality of the Colorado experience is that the NRA bullying tactics can still work," Sinderman said.
Both polling and the pace of signature gathering suggest there is deep public support for background checks, he added. The Colorado vote was simply a speed bump in the process.
Gun-control supporters, he said, were "making far more progress now locally and nationally than a setback like this would indicate."