While Senate Democrats try to reach a long-term compromise on gun legislation. Blue states
take their own steps to address the recent mass shootings at Buffalo in New York and Uvalde in
New York was the first state to pass a new slate of gun control laws before Thursday’s end of its
legislative session. California, New Jersey, and Delaware have their own legislation.
These states have the most stringent gun control laws in the nation, and they are governed by
Democrats. They’ll probably soon have stronger laws, which will likely mean less gun violence.
According to a January study done by Everytown for Gun Safety, states with stricter gun laws
have lower rates of gun-related homicides or suicides.
Blue states tend to view limiting gun access as the best way to reduce gun violence. However,
red states have traditionally responded to mass shootings with looser gun restrictions. They
promote the myth that the ” good man with a gun is the only way to stop the bad guy with one”.
The result is a patchwork system of gun laws throughout the country. This is the best the
Democrats have for now, as there’s no federal gun control legislation.
Here are the blue states working on.
New York Democrats passed a series of gun control bills Thursday. Gov. Kathy Hochul, a
Democrat, said she would sign the bill soon.
One bill, the ” red flag law,” strengthens the state’s existing extreme-risk law. It was enacted in 2019. This law permits law enforcement to stop individuals believed to be a threat to their safety
or that of others from owning firearms. It’s known as an “extreme risk protection order”.
The New York State Police decided not to pursue such an order against Buffalo’s shooter. He
didn’t have any criminal records but had made threats of violence. To prevent this from
happening again, lawmakers amended the law. The new policy would allow more people to
apply for extreme risk protection orders. Law enforcement would also be required to make such
an application if there was reason to believe that the individual is dangerous.
Other bills would establish a new permit requirement for owning a rifle, increase the minimum
age to buy a semi-automatic weapon from 18 to 21, and ban the sale of body armor to anyone
other than law enforcement officers or state-designated professions. When a security guard shot
back at the Buffalo shooter, he was wearing body armor.
New York’s Democratic legislators have indicated that they may not stop there, especially if the
US Supreme Court reverses New York’s ban on concealed carry permits. This ruling is expected
to be made by the end of the month. Hochul has stated she will call a special session in order to
pass legislation that addresses the ruling, if necessary.
California Democrats last week introduced a gun control package that allows private citizens to
sue manufacturers, dealers, and distributors for illegal assault weapons, ghost firearms, and
other firearms. Each weapon can be awarded at least $10,000 in civil damages. The bill’s legal
structure is modeled on a Texas law, which was in effect in September and allows private
individuals to sue anyone who performs abortions after fetal heart activity is detected. This is
usually around six weeks into a woman’s pregnancy.
Additionally, the package includes bills to ban gun shows, firearm sales on property state, and
the advertisement of some firearms to minors. Another bill requires school officials to report any
“perceived danger” to law enforcement and to inform families of high school and middle school
students about safe gun storage. Some bills focus on licensed gun dealers and require them to
install digital surveillance, a burglary alarm, and a keyless entry system. They also have to be
insured for general liability and undergo annual training.
These bills were passed before the deadline set by the California state legislature to move bills
out of the chamber they came from last week. Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom has promised to
speed up the bills and has stated that he will sign them before the end of the month.
It is not clear whether the bills will survive legal challenges. A California law that raised the
minimum age for purchasing a rifle to 21 years old was overturned by an appeals court.
The legislature could go further despite this concern: Newsom’s proposal to create a
$25,000,000 competitive grant program in support of local gun buyback programs is currently
going through the budget negotiation process.
The New Jersey Governor. Phil Murphy, a Democrat asked New Jersey lawmakers to bring all
gun bills to the floor, even those proposed by Republicans. He has argued this will allow voters
to see “in no uncertain terms who supports gun safety and who wants New Jersey streets and
communities flooded by guns.” While some Republicans are open to the idea, it is unclear if the
Democratic leadership will agree.
Murphy’s nine-ball package, which Murphy has proposed, could be put to a referendum. It would
establish safe storage standards for firearms and raise the minimum age to purchase a long gun
from 21 to 25. It also bans guns with calibers of.50 or greater.
It would also require gun owners to register their firearms when they move to New Jersey. Gun
safety training is required for gun ID cardholders. Gun manufacturers should adopt
microstamping technology in all guns sold in New Jersey so that law enforcement can link crime
scene cartridges to the guns that fired them.
After recent mass shootings, there was a renewed push for Delaware to pass legislation that
requires a permit and safety training before purchasing a handgun. The bill is still pending in the
statehouse. It has not yet been heard in committee. It was passed by the state Senate over a
year ago. However, that could change on June 7, when state legislators return from recess.
Some Delaware Democrats argue that their caucus should take it further. They have revived
another proposal to ban large-capacity magazines (defined as having more than 17 rounds) and
to require that residents submit weapons to a state purchase back program.
The state Senate passed a measure that did both last year. However, it was significantly
reduced by amendments at the statehouse. One of the amendments would have allowed
residents to still own large-capacity magazines but would have increased penalties for those
who use them in a crime. Delaware Online reported the Senate is likely to strike these
amendments and return the bill to the House for a second vote after the current recess.