2018 Has Seen a Big Increase in Gun Control Laws

Finally some good news about gun control!

Congress (not surprisingly) did nothing after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last February, but state legislators have been active this year, passing 69 gun control measures. There has also been a decrease in laws enacted to provide access to firearms. 

According to an end-of-the-year report by Giffords Law Center, more than half of the states in the U.S. passed at least one gun control law in 2018. At the same time state legislators rejected around 90 percent of bills backed by the National Rifle Association (NRA), according to Everytown for Gun Safety. 

After the mass shooting in December, 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School  in Newton, when 20 children and six adults were murdered, the organizations that became the Giffords Law Center and Everytown for Gun Safety were founded.

Those groups have been working to create gun control policies but Allison Anderman, managing attorney at the Giffords Law Center, believes “A lot of policies that we had been working on as a movement for years were pushed across the finish line because of Parkland.”

If you’ve heard any of the speeches by Parkland survivors, particularly the one by Emma Gonzalez at the March for Our Lives rally in Washington D.C., you know how powerful their words were. That rally drew thousands to the nation’s capital and also instigated hundreds of other rallies across the U.S.

As a result, over 50 percent of the gun control measures that passed in 2018 happened in March and April, right after the Parkland shooting. The New York Times explains, 

“In many places, legislators said outright that the Parkland attack had motivated them to act. Nowhere was this clearer than in Florida, where the shooting took place. Legislators there named their omnibus bill the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, after the school where the shooting took place.”

Many of us despaired when even the murders of 26 innocent people in Newton wasn’t enough to make our Congress take any action, but it seems that activists have instead directed their efforts to state legislatures.

Along with this good news, we could be seeing the demise of the NRA’s power. Writing in The Washington Post, E.J. Dionne speculates, “Taken together, the events of 2016 and the results of the 2018 election will be remembered as the beginning of the end of the gun lobby’s power.”

In 2016, the gun rights group spent a whopping $419 million to help Trump win the White House and ensure that Republicans controlled both houses of Congress. 

But according to The Washington Post, the NRA’s political spending “plummeted” in 2018. Also this year, as Dionne points out, “The battleground districts where Democrats defeated Republicans were largely in suburbs where most voters are tired of politicians who capitulate to gun extremists. Democrats campaigned enthusiastically for sane regulation, and it helped them win.”

In the state of Virginia, for example, three candidates endorsed by the NRA lost their seats to strong female leaders who made gun violence prevention central to their campaigns.

The NRA is also facing scrutiny from Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, especially since Russian agent Maria Butina has pleaded guilty to engaging in conspiracy against the U.S. As a Russian agent Butina worked to infiltrate Republican political groups and in particular she courted NRA leaders.

The NRA is also facing questions about a 2015 visit to Moscow by some of its chiefs.

Common sense gun laws must become the order of the day as we move into 2019. We aren’t there yet but we have reason to hope, especially thanks to the powerful voices of the Parkland survivors. As Barack and Michelle Obama wrote to them, “You’ve helped awaken the conscience of the nation.”

 

Photo Credit: getty images

44 comments

Joan E
Joan E1 months ago

Good to see something positive.

SEND
Richard B
Past Member 2 months ago

Thank you

SEND
Marija M
Marija M2 months ago

Better late than never, like Clare said.

SEND
heather g
heather g2 months ago

A lot of work still has to be done. Imagine if the Police had their firearms removed.

SEND
Carol C
Carol C2 months ago

Excellent news! May all of the remaining states follow. Hope the NRA will soon sink into well-deserved oblivion, along with the politicians they purchased.

SEND
Toni W
Toni W2 months ago

TYFS

SEND
Toni W
Toni W2 months ago

TYFS

SEND
Leo C
Leo Custer2 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

SEND
Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson2 months ago

Thank you.

SEND
Penni B
Penni B2 months ago

The difficulty I have with this relates to an old canard-Guns don't kill people , people with guns (and, more often than not, who are taking psycotropic drugs) do. It is also a proven statistic when the rights of gun-owners are removed, crime increases. So I see nothing about this to rejoice over. A more specific law, that limits the access mentally unstable people have to fire-arms and that deals with bullying in public schools, might be more productive.

SEND