Hundreds of kilometers apart, but at exactly the same time Monday afternoon, a gunman opened fire in a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado, and the Iowa Senate Republicans voted to core the law of the state Permission to carry hidden weapons required. The bill sponsor expressed relief that Iowans could exercise their gun rights “without a permit”.
However, last month in Maryland, Democrats has overridden Governor Larry Hogan’s veto of a bill to expand background checksand in Virginia, Democrats passed laws banning guns on the State Capitol and Tightening of the state’s background check system.
The diverse efforts reflect the national chessboard of gun laws from state to state, aligned with each state’s partisan leanings, while Congress has not addressed gun violence with meaningful laws since 1994, when a 10-year ban on assault weapons was introduced Crime law advocated by President Biden.
Since the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, 20 first grade students and six adults have been killed. 13 states, all controlled by Democrats, have introduced or expanded background checks on new arms purchases. Meanwhile, 14 states, all of which are Republican-controlled, have passed laws allowing their citizens to carry guns without a permit, as Iowa law would.
The political divide in arms policies between states is another example of how national issues – including abortion rights and, in the post-Trump era, voting rights – define local politics.
“We saw states take action because the federal government failed to do so,” said Laura Cutilletta, executive director of Giffords Law Center for the Prevention of Gun Violence. “But to really protect Americans and everyone living in America, we need a federal solution because weapons cross state lines.”
Still, gun policy has changed dramatically in the decade since the Sandy Hook shooting. Since then, two major gun control organizations, supported by former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and former Arizona representative, Gabrielle Giffords, who was herself a victim of gun violence, have built grassroots organizations across the country. In the 2018 and 2020 elections The groups issued the embattled National Rifle Association for the first time in federal campaigns.
Simultaneously Gun control has become a decidedly partisan issue. When the house passed his background checks bill earlier this monthOnly one Democrat, Maine Representative Jared Golden, voted against, while only eight Republicans voted in favor.
Republicans, by and large, are still firmly opposed to new gun regulations, arguing that the second amendment is sacrosanct and shouldn’t be violated by virtually any piece of legislation. And they claim that gun violence should be combated through measures such as more policing, not by restricting gun rights.
They also regularly try to limit the restrictions on the books, and in some cases try to take advantage of mass shootings to boost their fundraising. Colorado representative Lauren Boebert responded to the Boulder shootings Monday night with an appeal for $ 10 or $ 25 as she announced her commitment to gun rights.
“You want to disappoint our police. Then they want to take our weapons. ” She wrote. “What do we think is next? We cannot lose this right. “
Iowa legislation, passed in party line Monday, resets a number of requirements for new gun owners that have been in place for more than two decades, the result of the vast majority of Republicans in state law.
As recently as 2019, Governor Kim Reynolds of Iowa, a Republican, was said she refused to roll back the state background check law. Her spokesman didn’t return calls or messages on Tuesday, but Republican sponsor of the law, Senator Jason Schultz, said he expected Ms. Reynolds to sign the legislation.
Mr. Schultz, in a video posted on Facebook Monday afternoon The Iowa Firearms Coalition said efforts to roll back Iowa’s background checking law had lasted more than a decade.
“The amount of relief that is felt after about 11 years of looking at it is all behind us now,” he said. “Throughout these eleven years, we knew that Iowans, as free citizens, should trust that they would exercise their rights without a permit and without waiting.”
The opposite dynamic plays a role in other state legislations. In Virginia, beginning with Terry McAuliffe’s 2013 gubernatorial election, the Democrats campaigned for background checks and a ban on offensive weapons. When the party finally won a legislative majority after the 2019 elections, Governor Ralph Northam signed expanded legislative reviews and a so-called red flag bill that allows law enforcement officers to obtain a court order to prevent someone in a crisis from one Weapon received. Mr. Northam also approved a provision allowing local governments to issue additional gun restrictions.
However, Virginia Democratic lawmakers have failed to ban offensive weapons or restrict sales of high-capacity magazines – restrictions that would limit the availability of military-style weapons used in many of the country’s worst mass shootings.
“We have worked on the verge of gun violence prevention in important ways, but we have real opportunities to promote responsible gun ownership and much remains to be done,” said Dan Helmer, a Democrat in the Virginia House of Representatives in 2019 ousted a pro -Gun Republicans. “State laws alone won’t do it.”
Colorado, which has a history of mass shootings, including the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, passed background checks and training requirements for gun purchases in 2013. The state also banned the sale of magazines longer than 15 rounds.
Rhonda Fields, a state senator whose son was shot dead in 2005, led the state’s gun control push eight years ago. Ms. Fields said in an interview Tuesday that while Colorado laws have reduced gun violence, the solution to mass shootings is bigger than a patchwork of background checks and other regulations.
“We are still witnessing gun violence, we are still seeing it,” she said. “We all have a role to play in weapon security reform. When we know someone has expressed an interest in suicide and homicide, we need to give them the support they need. “
Ms. Fields added, “I think for me it’s more than just the gun, it’s about the person who has the gun and what kind of damage they want to do with that gun.”
John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, the gun control group backed by Mr Bloomberg, said Tuesday that gun control policy has “completely changed” since the Sandy Hook shooting. He cited universal Democratic support for measures like background checks and victories from House Democrats in 2018, Virginia lawmakers in 2019, and Mr Biden last year.
He said background checks must come before more robust gun control measures such as the ban on offensive weapons, as President Biden called for in his remarks on the shooting in Colorado on Tuesday afternoon.
“I’m not the curator of the Order, but I’m telling you that without a background check bill, none of the other bills will be as effective as they could be,” Feinblatt said.
Yet frustration is growing among grassroots activists and an emerging community of gun control activists who argue that pushing for background screening is not enough.
In 2019, Texas’s Beto O’Rourke revitalized its presidential campaign with a call to ban and seize offensive weapons, a proposal that was politically unsustainable but one of the few instances where someone with a national political profile took up the position of reduction the specified number of weapons in circulation – now estimated at nearly 400 million in the United States.
“You can just look at what nations around the world have done and almost eliminated mass violence in their countries,” said Igor Volsky, the founder and executive director of Guns Down America, a group trying to reduce the number of guns in the US to reduce land. “We know what to do, we just don’t have the political will to do it.” You very rarely see the kind of bold advocacy for gun violence prevention that you see so often with Immigration or the L.G.B.T.Q. Room.”