“Thoughts and Prayers” Ain’t Kevlar
A roundup of gun legislation around the country and how you can take action now
by Susan E. Stutz
Over the course of the last decade, there have been more than 100 separate gun reform proposals that have failed along the federal path to legislation. Why is that, you ask? Those efforts failed in large part because of one thing: the lobbying efforts of the National Rifle Association, which spent an estimated $54,000,000 in the 2016 election cycle which included approximately $30,000,000 earmarked for Trump’s presidential bid.
The NRA is arguably one of the most ardent and successful lobbyist that Congress has even known. By conjuring the specter of 2nd Amendment rights denial, they play upon people’s fears of being stripped of their right to bear arms. A right that was handed down by SCOTUS in the form of Supreme Court Justice Scalia’s 2008 opinion.
In 2018, there were 23 separate school shootings in which 113 people were killed or injured in the United States. That’s 113 children whose parents didn’t get to say goodbye. 113 unrealized dreams. 113 futures cast to the wind. That is 1 death every 8 days; the largest number of school shootings recorded since the 1970’s.
For every one of our family members killed or injured, members of Congress have offered their “thoughts and prayers. ” But, those words aren’t kevlar and they do nothing to protect our children. Such sentiments ring more hollow than an empty tin can and are meaningless in the face of such atrocity. Those words are cold reminders of an unwillingness to stop the plague that ends the lives of our children far too soon.
Where Congress has failed, there remains hope that those elected in 2018 will take the necessary steps to bring the plague of gun violence to an end. Several states have already proposed and/or enacted sensible gun reform. California, for example, has raised the minimum age for shotgun or rifle ownership from age 18 to age 21. They have also enacted legislation addressing gun ownership by individuals guilty of domestic abuse. Illinois has amended many of its gun laws, including tripling the waiting period for new purchases from 24 hours to 72. And, Washington state has new requirements for the safe storage of guns as well as criminal charges against those to whom weapons belong that have not been properly secured.
Here’s some bills working their way through legislatures around the country:
United States Congress: H.R. 8
California: A.B. 18
Florida: S.B. 500
Today, Senator Linda Stewart from Orange County introduced SB 500: Gun Safety. This legislation seeks to prohibit the possession of assault weapons and/or large capacity magazines as well as providing for enhanced penalties for various crimes committed with these types of weapons.
In 2018, the Garden State’s Governor Murphy signed 6 bills that strengthened gun-control laws. Included in those laws is one that bans “so called ghost guns” created with 3-D printers and another which outlaws the ownership of bump stocks which enhances a semi-automatic gun’s rate of fire. In addition, Governor Murphy introduced another batch of proposals, urging the legislature to address the issues of trafficking, ammunition sales, and violence-intervention programs, to name a few.
Oklahoma: S.B. 1212
Washington State: S.B. 5062
If you want to share your thoughts on the legislation above, say state to write to your state legislators, or congress to write your federal ones.
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