The first 10 bills introduced into the 113th Congress on Jan. 3 were all gun-related and the Obama administration is hinting it may by-pass Congress and exert executive privilege to impose new federal gun laws and regulations.
Not to be outdone, as state legislatures convene across the country, some lawmakers are in a knee-jerking scramble to submit their own bills to get aboard the gun control bandwagon.
Not surprisingly, the states with the most restrictive firearms laws were among the first legislatures where gun control proponents are calling for even more restrictive laws.
Legislators in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Delaware, and Vermont will be among the first to ponder proposed state automatic weapon bans — “feel good” formalities that, in all but Vermont’s case, would only further tighten already restrictive laws.
In Connecticut, the names and addresses of about 170,000 handgun permit holders, now confidential by law, could be made public under a proposed bill introduced by Rep. Stephen D. Dargan, D-West Haven.
In Illinois, two bills proposing to ban, tax and require registration for semi-automatic firearms or detachable magazines were defeated in the State Senate on Jan. 4, but proponents vow to try again.
In Vermont, some lawmakers are lobbying to review the state’s permissive gun laws in the upcoming legislative session. Gun owners in Vermont are not required to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon, nor must they register firearms, and people as young as 16 can purchase a firearm without parental consent.
In Delaware, Sen. Robert Marshall of Wilmington is calling for a “crackdown on gun ownership” and wants to give local governments the “authority to impose gun licensing laws” in a state that already restricts concealed carry under the “may issue” for “justifiable need” premise.
According to a Jan. 4 ProPublica column by Joaquin Sapien, state legislatures often react in knee-jerk spasms to mass shootings. Usually, the emotion that fuels the bandwagon boils away and there’s little actionable justification to support reactionary proposals.
Sapien studied what’s happened legislatively in states where some of the worst shootings in recent U.S. history have occurred to see what effect, if any, those events had on gun laws.
“We found that while legislators in Virginia, Alabama, Arizona, New York, Texas and Colorado sometimes contemplated tightening rules after rampage shootings, few measures gained passage,” Sapien writes. “In fact, several states have made it easier to buy more guns and take them to more places.”
For more, go to:
— Vermont lawmakers eye changes to state gun laws in wake of Newtown shooting