On May 23, 2014, a madman in Santa Barbara, California fatally stabbed three people, fatally shot three others, wounded 13 more, and then killed himself. Since then, several states have introduced bills strengthening gun control laws. Many politicians from New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, New Hampshire and California are urging Congress to revisit the discussion on federal gun control laws since no measures passed last year following the Sandyhook school shootings. So far, California, Massachusetts and Chicago’s Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, have introduced the strictest laws, while Rhode Island is purposing a higher tax on the sales of guns and ammunition. Here is a list of measures proposed in the last few weeks:
Wasting no time, California State Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (D) introduced Assembly Bill 1014 titled the “Gun Violence Restraining Order,” on May 28, 2014. The bill quickly passed assembly and is now in committee in the Senate. Originally written last year, the bill has 12 sponsors. Assembly Bill 1014 gives anyone the right to ask a judge to remove firearms from a person’s possession. Skinner says it acts as a temporary restraining order of up to one year preventing one to own, posses or purchase a firearm. Further, it allows law enforcement a warrant to enter a home and seize any firearms from that person. Read more about this bill in this update, New Legislation Proposes Gun Confiscation.
Speaker of the Massachusetts House, Robert DeLeo (D) proposed a bill to house leaders on May 27, 2014 to
- Expand background checks to include private sales
- Require any private sale to be through a licensed dealer
- Police given the authority to deem any person unsuitable to posses a firearm
- Enter mental health records into a national database
- Force firearms license applicants provide a list of every gun they won
- Tighten the license requirements for gun owners.
DeLeo is pushing the law to pass in July.
On May 28, 2014, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) introduced legislation to tighten restrictions on gun shops in the city to the city’s council. This comes after a January ruling giving Chicago six months to develop a plan to allow gun sales in the city after a federal judge ruled an outright ban on gun shops as unconstitutional.
Included in Mayor Emanuel’s plan is to
- Video tape every gun sale transaction
- Limit gun sales to one gun a month per customer
- Change zoning for gun shops
- Establish waiting periods to receive guns
- Perform quarterly inventory audits of gun shops.
Pending in Rhode Island’s senate is a bill by lead sponsor Representative Gayle Goldin (D) that places an additional 10 percent tax on sales of guns and ammunition to the already 7 percent sales tax on the two. Distributed to Rhode Island’s police departments, local police chiefs would then divide the money between anti-crime and anti-violence charities. The bill currently sits in committee for further review.
In a 260 to 145 vote, the House passed bipartisan bill Thompson-King Amendment allowing $76 million to increase the states’ funding to perform background checks on gun sales, encouraging states to add more names to the NICS “no” list.
In 2008, President George W. Bush signed the NICS Improvement Amendments Act. However, many states still do not update the list by adding mental health records. Arkadi Gerney, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, said, “Today’s bipartisan vote to pass the Thompson-King amendment is a step in the right direction and will mean that thousands of additional records of felons, abusers, fugitives, and the dangerously mentally ill go in the background check system where they belong.” The Thompson-King Amendment received wide support from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Brady Campaign, Sandy Hook Promise, Moms Demand Action and Americans for Responsible Solutions.
“Promoting Healthy Minds for Safer Communities Act of 2014”
House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force chair, Representative Mike Thompson (D) introduced the “Promoting Healthy Minds for Safer Communities Act of 2014” vastly expanding who is allowed to own firearms. It also expands how guns may be legally bought and sold. Included in the act is funding to study gun violence and expand the definition of who is legal and not legal to own a firearm—including those getting outpatient treatment. It includes seizure of firearms from those who might harm themselves, increases funding to local mental health organizations, and allows doctors to ask patients about gun ownership. The bill has 20 co-sponsors.
Further, other representatives have stated they will introduce their own bills soon.
It is highly doubtful many of these bills will pass. Of the 1,500 different gun bills introduced in the states in 2013, only 109 of them actually passed. However, do not let that fact let us become complacent. To write your representatives and tell them you oppose any and all new gun control legislations, visit the NRA-ILA’s Write Your Representatives page.
What do you think about the Thompson-King Amendment and the Promoting Healthy Minds for Safer Communities Act of 2014? Tell us in the comment section.