Paul Allen donates $1M to Washington gun initiative

Billionaire philanthropist Allen is donating $30 million toward the construction of a permanent housing facility for homeless families and their children. (Photo: AP File)

SEATTLE (AP) -- Microsoft co-founder and Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen has donated $1 million to a campaign seeking to raise the age to purchase semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21 in Washington state.

Allen made the announcement on Twitter Monday.

The Alliance for Gun Responsibility says Initiative 1639 also would create a background check system similar to the one required for handguns, require completion of a firearms safety course and create standards for safe gun storage.

The group's initiative effort comes after lawmakers in the Democratic-controlled Statehouse declined to bump the minimum age to buy semi-automatic weapons after the February mass shooting at a Florida high school.

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The alliance needs roughly 260,000 petition signatures before the initiative can qualify for the 2018 ballot.

In 2014, Allen donated $500,000 to a successful campaign seeking to expand background checks on gun sales in the state.

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