Many state legislatures are considering new restrictions on guns after a decade in which gun advocates dominated legislative action, reports the New York Times. In all, 38 states have gun bills pending, many focused on cutting off gun access to convicted criminals and the mentally ill and on improving methods to trace guns used in crimes. Underlying many proposals is an effort to redefine the gun debate as a law enforcement issue, rather than one that focuses on broad-based gun ownership, to sidestep Second Amendment concerns.
“For years we were chasing the NRA's tail,” said Brian Malte of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “But now we feel they are chasing our priorities.” The NRA continues to wield tremendous influence in state capitals and is pushing strongly for its own laws. Several legislatures may increase access to guns, including proposals to allow guns on college campuses or in the parking lots of workplaces. Wayne LaPierre, chief NRA executive, “There has been a brick-by-brick restoration of the Second Amendment” over the past 10 years or so at the state level.” Catalysts for the latest legislation include high-profile gun crimes at shopping malls, schools and universities and the streets of several large cities, and a new federal law that gives financial rewards to states that better share information about mentally ill gun buyers.