Look in any direction and you will find headlines about gun legislation—good or bad, depending upon the state and your personal perspective—and it is clear guns are in the political spotlight as the 2022 elections loom over the horizon.
In Connecticut, Democrat Gov. Ned Lamont has announced a $64 million gun control package including the creation of a “gun tracing task force” and, according to the Hartford Courant, “Money will also be set aside for a statewide program to buy guns back from owners in order to get them out of circulation.”
Lamont reportedly expressed shock at the number of “guns in the street.”
The newspaper quoted Lamont stating, “You’re not tough on crime if you’re weak on guns. We’re going to continue to stay tough on guns.”
There will also be money for hiring more police officers, the newspaper said.
Down in Georgia, lawmakers are weighing several piece of legislation detailed by WGXA News. A big item is a “constitutional carry” measure, House Bill 2. Republican Gov. Brian Kemp is on record as supporting permitless carry, and he may get the chance to prove it because there is companion legislation in the Senate (Senate Bill 319).
There are also bills on state reciprocity (HB 218), allowing non-residents to carry in Georgia on their home state licenses, and another bill allowing for a lifetime carry permit with occasional background check updates.
Out in Colorado, Centennial Rep. Tom Sullivan is reportedly working on a bill to raise the minimum age for purchasing a semi-auto rifle to 21. Sullivan’s son was one of the victims of the 2012 Aurora movie premier mass shooting. According to the Fort Morgan Times, the bill may be crafted to be similar to a ban imposed on semi-auto rifles in Boulder, made possible by last year’s passage of legislation that essentially gutted Colorado’s preemption statute.
Moving west to Utah, legislators in Salt Lake City are reportedly working on legislation that “clarifies only the state—not cities, counties or other local entities—can enact firearms regulations.” That measure, Senate Bill 115, reinforces state preemption, which is under attack out in Washington State by Democrat lawmakers who want to repeal the Evergreen State’s 38-year-old statute.
The Utah bill recently cleared a hurdle, according to the Deseret News, when the state Senate voted 20-5 to approve the measure.
The newspaper quoted State Sen. Chris Wilson (R-Logan), who stated on the Senate floor, “In recent years, local governments have attempted to exploit loopholes in state law to regulate firearms at conventions, not acting in the best interests of all Utahns…The purpose of this bill is to clarify and protect citizens from local government gun regulations that contradict state law.”
But in Washington, the Democrat-controlled legislature is considering an amended version of Senate Bill 5078, limiting magazine capacity to 10 rounds. This limitation is the brainchild of Sen. Marko Liias (D-21st District). Under his amended version, according to the Legislature’s website, tubular magazines for .22-caliber rimfire rifles would be exempted. The National Rifle Association has posted a member alert about this bill, with a link to send a message to lawmakers.
The bill seeking to undo Washington’s model preemption statute is SB 5568. It underscores the difference between Democrat- and Republican-controlled legislatures.