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Monday, January 4, 2016

Gun Control Successes in Particular States

"With tens of millions of dollars to spend thanks to backers like Michael R. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, gun control groups have secured a number of surprising recent successes in Connecticut, Delaware and elsewhere. And they are now looking to state and local officials to win approval for tougher background checks and other measures from Nevada to Maine."

(Eric Lichtblau. "State Focus and Infusion of Funding Buoy Gun Control Advocates."
The New York Times. January 03, 2016.)

At this time, changing gun policies “is easier to do on a state-by-state basis than it is on a national level, because Congress is gerrymandered to such an extent,” Governor Dannel P. Malloy of Connecticut said.

Here are some examples of changing gun policies:

* New York

In January 2013, New York passed the New York Safe Act, the law includes a tougher assault weapons ban that broadens the definition of what constitutes an assault weapon, and limits the capacity of magazines to seven bullets, down from 10. The law also requires background checks of ammunition and gun buyers, even in private sales, imposes tougher penalties for illegal gun use, a one-state check on all firearms purchases, and programs to cut gun violence in high-crime neighborhoods.

* Connecticut

In April 2013, Governor Malloy signed into law a bill that passed the legislature with bipartisan support and required universal background checks, banned magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds, created the country's first registry for dangerous-weapon offenders and added over 100 types of gun to the state's assault weapons ban.

In December 2015, Malloy announced he would issue an executive order to prohibit anyone on federal terrorist watchlists (such as the No Fly List) from obtaining the permits required to acquire firearms in Connecticut. The executive order would also revoke existing permits for people on such lists. Congress refused to take that step nationwide.

* Virginia

In December 2015, the state’s attorney general, Mark R. Herring, barred anyone who holds a concealed-handgun permit in 25 other states from using it to carry a firearm in Virginia.

In November 2015, Jeremy McPike, a Democrat from suburban Washington and a political novice running on a gun control platform, was elected to the State Senate. Mr. McPike’s campaign was helped by $1.5 million from Everytown for Gun Safety (which received $36 million in contributions last year, with the biggest chunk coming from Mr. Bloomberg, and has eclipsed a number of older gun control groups in publicity and influence). The group blanketed the area with ads promoting Mr. McPike’s record on gun control, and he was elected despite an F grade from the N.R.A.

Everytown for Gun Safety's supporters have now grown to three million nationwide, including survivors of shootings, mayors, police officers, celebrities, and rank-and-file supporters. It has chapters in all 50 states, with registered lobbyists in 31 of them, adopting a structure used to great effectiveness by the N.R.A. itself.

* Delaware

In October 2015, Governor Jack Markell signed a measure aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. It was personally pushed by former Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, who was shot in the head in a mass shooting in 2011 and who later started a gun safety group.

* Michigan

In November 2015, Governor Rick Snyder vowed to veto -- for a second time -- a hotly debated bill that would allow permit-holders to carry concealed weapons in schools.

* Washington

In November 2015, voters in Washington state chose to advance a ballot initiative that will expand background checks for guns and effectively close what is known as the "gun show loophole."

Initiative 594, which passed with 60 percent of the vote, mandates background checks on all gun sales and transfers, including at gun shows and online. The measure makes exceptions for weapons transferred within families and for the purchase of antique guns.

Supporting Gun Control

According to a CNN/ORC poll (October 2015) about seven in 10 Americans believe it is important for most Americans to support proposed changes to gun laws before those changes are implemented. And 61% said the same of gun owners.

In addition, about half of Americans said it is important for both parties to come to a consensus before making any changes to existing gun laws.

Yet, the poll shows 52% of Americans now oppose stricter gun control laws, 6 percentage points more than the 46% of Americans who support such laws.

(Jeremy Diamond. "Poll: More Americans oppose stricter gun control."
CNN. October 21, 2015.)

Other polls have shown that an overwhelming majority of Americans support expanding background checks to private sales and sales at gun shows, where people can buy guns without undergoing a background check.

So, why does there continue to be strong resistance to national efforts to increase gun control and reduce the horrific gun violence in the United States? I believe it's largely conditioning.

I agree with Scott Martelle of The Los Angeles Times when he says ...

"(The nation pays a huge cost) because of "its abject inability to confront our cultural embrace of violence, and to move beyond the romanticized notion that an armed nation is a safe nation. And no, the answer, as the National Rifle Assn. likes to tell us, is not more guns...

"It is an epidemic that we are politically powerless to stop, because too many have bought into a near-religious embrace of gun ownership.This carnage on the streets of America is not what the crafters of the Second Amendment envisioned."

(Scott Martelle. "This is why we need gun control. The Los Angeles Times. May 27, 2014.)

More perspective?

Please click the following address and read this article by Larry Buchanan, Josh Keller, Richard A. Oppel Jr., and Daniel Victor titled "How They Got Their Guns": http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/10/03/us/how-mass-shooters-got-their-guns.html.



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