Last year, lawmakers in statehouses around the country were confronted with an overwhelming public demand for gun violence prevention policies. And, they listened. Policymakers in red, blue and purple states bucked the gun lobby and passed new laws that are already saving lives. This momentum is set to continue in 2019.
As the U.S. Congress pushes legislation to update the federal background checks law, background check legislation will also be on the agenda in multiple states. In Nevada, newly elected Gov. Steve Sisolak and Attorney General Aaron Ford have pledged to make background checks on all gun sales a priority. In stark contrast to their predecessors, both Sisolak and Ford have said they are exploring several options to enforce and implement the state’s background check law, as voters demanded in a 2016 ballot initiative. Minnesota’s House leadership announced Wednesday that a background check bill would be among the first ten bills introduced. And, lawmakers in Florida and New Mexico have vowed to fight for legislation requiring a criminal background check on every gun sale this year.
Following the school shooting in Parkland last year, a record eight states passed red flag laws, which empower family members and local law enforcement to petition a court to temporarily restrict a person’s access to guns when they are a threat to themselves or others. Lawmakers in Pennsylvania and Colorado have already committed to fighting for new red flag laws this year, and it’s likely many more will follow suit.
Lawmakers in states including Oregon and Kentucky will pursue new legislation to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, seeking to curb the violence that takes the lives of more than 50 American women every month. Last year alone, 12 states passed laws to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, building on years of work by advocates and survivors of domestic violence.
As these states and others work to save lives this year, volunteers with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America will be a constant presence during legislative sessions. If you’d like to connect with Moms Demand Action volunteers about what they have planned this year or hear more about what states might do to reduce gun violence in the coming months, please don’t hesitate to reach out.