Gun Control Advocates Notch Victories in States

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Advocates of stricter restrictions on gun ownership believe they can notch new wins in state legislatures this year, after Republicans in some states signaled they would be willing to break with the National Rifle Association to support new rules, The Hill reports. Advocates cited Massachusetts and New Jersey, the first two states to ban bump stocks, the rifle modifications used by a gunman to murder dozens at a concert in Las Vegas last year. Both bills were passed by Democratic legislatures and signed by Republican governors. A bump stock ban won approval from a legislative committee in Virginia this week. Similar bills have been introduced in Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Indiana and Washington. “States are really taking the lead on banning these weapons in the face of Congressional inaction,” said Robin Lloyd of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Legislators in several states have advanced measures that would prohibit those who pose a risk to themselves or others from possessing a firearm. One version would allow family members or law enforcement to petition for “extreme” risk protection orders, temporarily barring someone who poses a threat. Those measures passed in California, Washington and Oregon. Massachusetts lawmakers heard testimony on an extreme risk protection order bill, and New York legislators rolled out their version on Wednesday. New Jersey and Delaware are likely to take action this year. Another version of the prohibitions would ban those convicted of domestic abuse from possessing firearms. Twenty-five states and the District of Columbia have passed laws keeping guns away from domestic abusers. Gun rights advocates are pushing for legislation that would end requirements for permits to carry firearms in public. The measures, dubbed constitutional carry, have passed in 13 states so far.

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