WASHINGTON, DC — As many state legislatures across the country wrap up their sessions for the year, a new report released today provides an analysis of the latest national trends in state firearms legislation. Released by Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, and its partner organization the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Gun Law Trendwatch: 2017 Mid-Year Review documents a series of important, lifesaving legislative victories in states across the country. Trendwatch also details the ways in which the gun lobby is attempting to chip away at state gun laws by moving forward a deadly agenda to allow more guns in more places.
Thanks to the unyielding efforts of the gun violence prevention movement and groups like Americans for Responsible Solutions and the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, in the 2017 legislative cycle, legislators in 13 states rejected measures to allow guns on campus and legislators in 20 states defeated measures to allow guns in public without a permit. This success is further evidence that the gun violence prevention movement has maintained the historic momentum generated in response to the tragedy at Newtown. In fact, since 2013, 198 gun laws that make communities safer have been enacted across 45 states and DC.
“While Washington continues to be stuck in the gun lobby’s grip, gun safety advocates are taking on the gun lobby’s dangerous agenda in states across the country and advancing bills that help protect families from gun violence and make our communities safer places to live, work, and play,” said Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Co-Founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions. “At a time when over 36,000 Americans are dying from gun violence every year, now is the time for lawmakers to come together, be responsible, and make our communities safer. Since the horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, we’ve made a lot of progress on this issue, passing 198 responsible gun laws across 45 states. We look forward to continuing to work across the aisle to advance commonsense solutions that protect the rights of law-abiding gun owners and keep guns out of the wrong hands.”
The new report, Gun Law Trendwatch: 2017 Mid-Year Review, contains a roundup and analysis of firearms bills that have been introduced in states across the country, including:
Defeated Gun Lobby Bills. The gun lobby suffered numerous setbacks to its agenda this cycle. Legislators in 13 states rejected measures to allow guns on campus and legislators in 20 states defeated measures to allow guns in public without a permit. The gun lobby also failed to repeal background check laws in Washington, Nebraska, and Iowa.
New Gun Safety Laws. Americans for Responsible Solutions and other groups in the gun violence prevention movement worked to advance a series of smart gun laws. In Hawaii and Washington, we saw legislation that would strengthen the background check system. In Utah and Washington, we saw bills that will help reduce the epidemic of firearm suicide. Five states, including Maryland, New Jersey, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Utah, enacted legislation that combats the deadly nexus between gun violence and domestic violence.
New Gun Lobby Laws. This year’s legislative cycle saw very few victories for the gun lobby, and those primarily confined to states with already poor gun laws. Arkansas, New Hampshire, and North Dakota all passed laws to weaken concealed carry laws, while Texas and Tennessee passed legislation to weaken silencer regulations. The gun lobby’s efforts to dismantle the laws regulating silencers and concealed carry mirror its efforts at the federal level. Fortunately, this year advocates stopped many of the gun lobby’s dangerous bills from advancing.
“The gun violence prevention movement has had remarkable success passing lifesaving smart gun laws while blocking dangerous gun lobby measures,” said Robyn Thomas, executive director of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “Despite these major victories for public safety, there is still so much more that must be done to protect Americans and make our communities safer. With a handful of state legislatures still in session, we look forward to working with lawmakers and advocates to achieve additional legislative victories and continue fighting for the policies we know will save lives and protect our communities from the scourge of gun violence.”
Read the full report: Gun Law Trendwatch: A Roundup and Analysis of the Latest State Firearms Legislation