The shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school has struck more than one chord. Along with a surge of emotions, the tragedy has rekindled a fierce, and much-needed, debate on gun control, both on the federal and non-federal level. As a result, different states are adopting different strategies to prevent such a tragedy from reoccurring.
First in line is the state where the unfortunate incident occurred, Florida. State lawmakers aren’t willing to debate on imposing a gun control measure, which would ban assault weapons, including AR-15s, the weapon used in the Parkland shooting.
State Rep. Kionne McGhee (D), advocate of the bill, brought it to the floor but to no avail. It was rejected in a 36-71 procedural vote. Another proposal that is floating around is to put law enforcement officers on school premises, which Florida Senate committee approves of.
Other states, like Hawaii, Pennsylvania and Illinois, are considering bills that are inclined toward a ban on different types of weapons.
For example, Illinois State Rep. Marty Moylan (D) introduced a bill following the Florida shooting that calls for halting the manufacture, sale, purchase and possession of “rate of fire enhancements.” Moylan is looking for a ban on unregistered, home-manufactured guns, referred to as “ghost guns.”
In Hawaii, lawmakers are considering to introduce a law, H.B. 1908, which would declare it a felony if anyone owns, sells multi-burst triggers on firearms. Pennsylvania is on its toes and 11 bills have been passed out since the Florida shooting to keep gun violence at bay. These bills cover measures that include more stringent regulations, such as stiffening background checks for all gun sales, which would make it harder for citizens to get their hands on assault-style weapons.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin, Arizona and South Carolina haven’t been able to gain any ground, as far as measures against gun control are concerned, since the Florida shooting.
In Wisconsin, Republican lawmakers made sure that Democrats failed in their attempt to pass a bill that would implement universal background checks on the gun purchases made in the state. Republicans allegedly schemed in order to avoid voting for the bill altogether and instead put forward their proposal that includes grant funds to schools in order to provide firearms to safety officers.
Arizona was also torn between opposing stances of Republicans and Democrats. Yet again, Democrats put forward a bill, which endorsed a ban on bump stocks. It was shunned by the Republicans. One bill made it to the state House committee, which was passed the day of the Parkland shooting. It would end gun safety requirements previously imposed on foster parents, thereby relaxing already-in-place gun restrictions. Republican tactics weren’t much different in South Carolina. House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford (D) said he planned to introduce a bill to ban the sale of AR-15 rifles to anyone under the age of 20. Predictably, Republican lawmakers aren’t too supportive of such a measure and are adamant on arming teachers.
Oregon is focusing on a certain category of criminals, with measures to consider background checks for those who possess or purchase ammunition. If a person’s history reveals a history of domestic violence or stalker-esque behavior, they will no longer be allowed to possess a gun.
Missouri also seems to be more inclined to bring arms and ammunition to the campuses, as a bill, currently under consideration, would roll back gun restrictions in the state.
It includes measures to block colleges from banning firearms on campus, allow concealed-carry permit holders to bring their guns into churches and other houses of worship and make it illegal to require electronic tracking systems for firearms. The hearings will take place on Feb. 26.
It seems Trump is diplomatically trying to cater to both parties. Advocates of gun control were placated by the president on Tuesday when he announced that he’d ordered Attorney General Jeff Sessions to take steps to ban bump stocks. Around the same time, Trump appeased pro-gun nuts when he announced his intention to offer bonuses to teachers who undergo gun training.
Thumbnail Credits: Reuters