The Hill is reporting that gun control proponents see 2018 as a year in which they “can notch new wins in state legislatures across the country.”
Already, Massachusetts and New Jersey have banned “bump stock” devices, the newspaper noted, and bans have been approved by legislative committees in Indiana, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington. Well-financed gun prohibition lobbying groups appear to be pulling out all the stops to get rid of bump stocks, which were referred to as “weapons” by Robin Lloyd, director of government affairs at the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, The Hill reported.
However, the bump stock is not a firearm at all, only an accessory that uses the recoil of a semiautomatic rifle to speed up the discharge rate without changing the function of the firearm.
But is The Hill right about the potential for gun control groups to push their agenda? Presumably that depends on the state.
The Daily Progress reported that in Virginia, the “firearms agenda” of Gov. Ralph Northam “died Monday morning in a Republican-controlled Senate committee.”
At the far end of the country in Washington State, the bump stock ban legislation has advanced, but other anti-gun bills do not appear to be moving. Some Democrats have already indicated they will not vote for any gun control measure.
It may be a different story in New York, where lawmakers in Albany are reportedly looking at legislation “that would make it easier to keep guns away from dangerous individuals,” according to the New York Daily News. But other legislation adopted over the years with similar intentions has not prevented guns from falling into the wrong hands.
Following the Sandy Hook tragedy in 2012, then-President Barack Obama and others insisted that expanded background checks on all gun transactions were needed to prevent such tragedies. But mass shooters in Texas, Colorado, Florida, Arizona and elsewhere all passed background checks.
Sandy Hook killer Adam Lanza used his mother’s legally-purchased firearms, after murdering her. Likewise, Kip Kinkel, who opened fire at Thurston High School in Springfield, Oregon, killed both of his parents before heading to the school.
In several states, anti-gun lawmakers are able to repeatedly push gun control legislation without fear of political reprisal because they live in “safe” districts dominated by liberal voters. Their colleagues who live in “swing” districts are less likely to push their luck in an election year.
While The Hill report may accurately describe the thinking of gun control proponents, there are a lot of caveats out there, not the least of which is gun owner backlash. Second Amendment advocates may have felt comfort with Donald Trump’s election and full Republican control of Congress, but their alarms are going off at the state level. As grassroots activity in Virginia and Washington this week affirms, when gun owners feel their rights are under attack, they respond accordingly.