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States Lead The Way on Gun Safety in 2021: Passing Over 30 Gun Safety Laws, Rejecting Dozens of Extreme Gun Lobby Bills, Approving A Record Over $250 Million For Gun Violence Prevention

August 3, 2021

Thousands of Moms and Students Demand Action Volunteers Across the Country Partnered With Democratic, Republican and Independent Lawmakers to Achieve Massive Victories and Block Bad Bills

NEW YORK — Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action, and Students Demand Action today released new data showing just how successful state legislative sessions were for the gun safety movement. State governments passed more than 30 gun safety laws, and blocked dozens of attempts by the gun lobby to weaken gun laws. In addition, at least $250 million was allocated to gun violence prevention programs — a new record. Tens of thousands of Moms and Students Demand Action volunteers made this work possible through countless emails, phone calls, in person and digital visits, as well as lobby days.

Last year was one of the deadliest years on record for gun violence, with an estimated 19,300 people killed in gun homicides or non-suicide-related shootings, and devastating gun violence has continued into 2021. Gun suicide, domestic violence and police violence have also continued. Heeding the call for action to save lives, statehouses used the 2021 legislative sessions to enact common-sense gun safety policies, invest in gun violence prevention, and reject gun lobby priorities.  

“The days of the NRA treating statehouses like their personal clubhouses are over,” said John Feinblatt, President of Everytown for Gun Safety. “In a time of rising gun violence, lawmakers in state after state put public safety ahead of gun lobby priorities and passed common-sense, life-saving laws.”

“America’s gun violence epidemic requires holistic solutions and urgent action on common sense policies that we know save lives,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “Thankfully — due in large part to tireless grassroots organizing — we’ve seen incredible progress by gun sense champions in states across the country, both to enact strong and innovative solutions to gun violence and also to reject the gun lobby’s extreme ‘guns everywhere’ agenda that undermines public safety and puts us all at risk.”

“States are leading the way on gun safety,” said Monisha Smith, Director of State Government Affairs at Everytown for Gun Safety. “As gun violence continues to tear through our communities, we are relying on statehouses to help solve the gun violence crisis. Fortunately, hundreds of state lawmakers are meeting the moment with holistic solutions to both fund effective gun violence prevention programs and enact common-sense gun safety laws — and they’re rejecting gun lobby bills that have been proven to exacerbate gun violence.”

In states across the country, over 30 gun safety laws have been passed through state legislatures so far, thanks to the tireless advocacy of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers, gun violence survivors, partner advocates, and gun sense lawmakers. The policies include bills to strengthen background checks and close the Charleston loophole, regulate ghost guns, create police accountability and reduce police violence, require secure firearm storage, prohibit guns from sensitive locations like polling places, and more. 

In New York, lawmakers passed a first of its kind law to hold bad actors in the gun industry accountable for their role in the gun violence crisis. In Colorado, after experiencing two devastating mass shootings in Colorado Springs and Boulder, lawmakers passed a historic gun safety package. And in Maryland, after a 5-year effort by Moms Demand Action volunteers and gun violence survivors to close loopholes in Maryland’s background check laws, lawmakers overrode the governor’s veto and enacted a bill to ensure background checks on all gun sales.  

In 2021, states passed bills to:

  • Regulate Ghost Guns: New York (Passed), Delaware (Passed), Nevada (Signed)
  • Strengthen Background Checks: Illinois (Signed), Maryland (Veto Overridden)
  • Address the Charleston Loophole: Virginia (Signed), Colorado (Signed)
  • Create Police Accountability and Reform Policing: Maryland (Veto Overridden), Washington (Signed), Kentucky (Signed), New Mexico (Signed), Indiana (Signed), Delaware (Passed)
  • Update their Extreme Risk Law: Connecticut (Signed), Illinois (Passed)
  • Repeal Preemption Provisions to Allow Local Governments And Schools to Enact Gun Safety Measures: Colorado (Signed), Oregon (Signed)
  • Provide Medicaid Coverage for Hospital Violence Intervention Programs: Connecticut (Signed)
  • Establish and/or Fund an Office of Gun Violence Prevention: Colorado (Signed), Washington (Signed)
  • Require Secure Firearm Storage: Colorado (Signed), Oregon (Signed), Maine (allowed to go into law without signature)
  • Allocate Victim of Crime Act Dollars for Gun Violence Prevention: New York (Signed)
  • Prohibit Guns in K-12 Schools: Rhode Island (signed)
  • Ensure Reporting on Gun Violence: Maine (allowed to go into law without signature)
  • Prohibit Open Carry and Armed Intimidation in Sensitive Places: Washington (Signed), Virginia (Signed)
  • Keep Guns out of the Hands of Domestic Abusers: Delaware (Passed), Colorado (Signed)
  • Hold the Gun Industry Accountable: New York (Signed)
  • Prevent Straw Purchasing: Rhode Island (Signed)

This year state legislatures from across the country allocated a record investment of over $250 million for gun violence prevention and local violence intervention and prevention programs (VIPs). These community-based programs are shown to reduce community gun violence but have often relied on scarce competitive grant funding, private donations, and limited city funding.

The following states allocated funding for VIPs:

  • California approved $200 million for VIPs over the next three years
  • Connecticut passed a bill that directs their Medicaid program to fund violence intervention programs
  • New Jersey approved $10 million for VIPs for the next year
  • New York created a new grant program and dedicated $10 million for VIPs for the next year
  • Pennsylvania approved $30 million for VIPs for the next year
  • Washington approved $3.2 million for VIPs for for the next year

Across the country, states rejected dozens of gun lobby aligned bills that would have weakened gun laws following advocacy by Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers, gun violence survivors, and gun sense candidates urging lawmakers to stand with constituents and law enforcement by rejecting efforts to weaken gun laws. In states like Indiana and Louisiana, advocates succeeded in holding off efforts to pass permitless carry, a bill to strip permitting and training requirements for people carrying loaded, hidden firearms in public — and one of the gun lobby’s top priorities.

Several of the states that defeated gun lobby bills:

  • Alabama: Defeated: permitless carry and efforts to nullify federal gun safety laws
  • ColoradoDefeated: Bill to allow guns on K-12 premises; Bill to repeal Colorado’s large-capacity magazine prohibition; Bill to discourage people from seeking Extreme Risk Protection Orders
  • Georgia: Defeated: Bills weakening the handgun carry permitting process; a bill to automatically make carry permits from other states valid in Georgia
  • HawaiiDefeated: Stand Your Ground
  • Idaho: Defeated: a bill to allow guns in school
  • IndianaDefeated: Permitless Carry; a bill to expand Stand Your Ground
  • Louisiana: Defeated: Permitless Carry; a bill to prohibit the state from entering into contracts with businesses that don’t deal with the gun industry; a bill to nullify federal gun laws
  • Mississippi: Defeated: Preemption, a bill to prohibit local governments from enacting gun safety measures
  • MissouriDefeated: A bill to force college campuses to allow guns and allow guns in other sensitive areas; a bill to establish an all-volunteer armed militia in the state called “the minutemen,”; a bill to lower the age to 18 to obtain a permit for carrying concealed handguns in public
  • Nebraska: Defeated: Permitless Carry
  • New Hampshire: Defeated: Constitutional amendment to prohibit new gun laws in the state, and not enforce new federal gun laws; Federal gun law nullification; Stand Your Ground expansion bills;
  • Oklahoma: Defeated: Bill to allow guns on college campuses; bill to punish local governments for enacting gun safety measures; bill to expand law arming teachers; Stand Your Ground expansion 
  • West Virginia: Defeated: Bill to allow guns on college campuses and in the state capitol; Stand Your Ground expansion; bill to arm teachers; preemption constitutional amendment
  • WyomingDefeated: Legislation to nullify federal gun safety laws; legislation to force universities and colleges to allow guns on campus; legislation that would force K-12 schools, sporting events, legislature meetings, and other local government meetings to allow concealed guns

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