Following Tragic Shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo, State and Local Leaders Aren’t Waiting for Congress to Act on Gun Safety
Following the horrific mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, NY, and the daily gun violence plaguing communities across the country, state and local leaders are advancing common sense gun safety measures to save lives. Last week, New York became the first state to pass gun safety legislation in response to the massacres when New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed ten bills, including several to directly address loopholes that gave the shooter easy access to the assault weapon he used in the shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo.
“The momentum on gun safety isn’t just in Congress, our volunteers are also making life-saving progress in states and cities across the country,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “In the last few weeks alone, our volunteers have helped pass historic legislation through state houses, city halls and school boards – and we’re only getting stronger.”
Across Colorado, California, New York, Ohio and Oregon, at least a dozen local governments and school boards have introduced or passed gun safety policies since the shootings. The local policies passed include measures to prohibit the sale and possession of assault weapons, large capacity magazines, rapid trigger fire mechanisms, and ghost guns; raise the minimum age to purchase all firearms to 21 years old; prohibit the open carry of firearms; prohibit firearms in sensitive places; prohibit firearms in schools; and require warning signage at gun stores explaining the risks associated with access to a firearm in the home.
In Cincinnati and Cleveland, shortly after Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed a bill to allow teachers to carry guns in their classrooms with hardly any training, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Board and Cincinnati Public Schools’ board voted not to allow its educators to carry firearms in schools.
In addition, at least six legislatures are currently seeing an active effort to move forward with gun safety legislation:
- In California, the legislature is advancing eight gun safety bills, all of which are quickly making their way through the opposite-chamber committee process after passing their first chamber.
- In Delaware, the legislature is advancing six gun safety bills. Last week, the House passed a bill to prohibit the manufacture, sale, purchase and possession of assault weapons while the Senate passed a prohibition on high capacity magazines. And last night, the House passed two bills to raise the minimum age requirement to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21 and strengthen the state’s background checks system.
- In Rhode Island, the legislature just sent three bills to Governor Daniel McKee’s desk to prohibit high capacity magazines and open carry of loaded rifles and shotguns in public, and raise the age to purchase shotguns and rifles to 21. The governor is expected to sign the bills without delay.
- In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy said he’d be taking action to address Everytown’s recommendations for governors and is urging the legislature to take up a package of gun safety bills. Moms Demand Action volunteers held a rally in front of New Jersey Senate President Scutari’s office to call on him to put the bill package on the floor for a vote.
- In Pennsylvania, state senators are using various procedural techniques to advance a gun safety package after the House Judiciary Committee blocked an effort to move several bills to the House floor, including bills to enact an extreme risk law, prohibit assault weapons, require secure storage of firearms and repeal the preemption law that prohibits local governments from passing gun safety measure that make sense for their communities.
- In Massachusetts, bills to address the spread of ghost guns, require live fire training, prohibit gun possession in sensitive places, and improve analysis of crime gun data have all been advancing through the committee process, in addition to other bills relating to gun safety. A comprehensive House mental health bill set for a floor vote on June 16 also includes a public awareness campaign to increase utilization of their Red Flag law. Legislators have also said they are ready to respond to the pending decision in NYSRPA v. Bruen through legislation if necessary.