Advocates say the Parkland, Fla., high school massacre on Feb. 14 may have moved the needle on the political impasse over America’s gun problem. Those who favor gun control had their best year in state legislatures in recent history, reports the Washington Post. Since the Florida shooting, the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence counts 55 new gun-control laws that have passed in 26 states. Republican governors in 15 states signed bills that gun-control advocates supported. “The politics have shifted dramatically,” said Robin Lloyd, the government affairs director at Giffords. One of gun-control advocates’ biggest wins of the year came in Vermont, where Republican Gov. Phil Scott signed a package of gun-control bills into law, including expanding background checks. And he cited mass shootings as a reason.
“. . . [I]f we had not even tried to reduce the possibility of a tragedy here in Vermont like Parkland or Virginia Tech, Aurora, Las Vegas, Orlando, Sandy Hook, Dallas or Charleston … that would be hard to live with,” Scott told a group of gun rights supporters surrounding him at the State House in April, some shouting he was a traitor. For the first time in recent history, an entirely Republican-controlled state passed a bill limiting the general population’s access to guns. This was Florida, which approved a number of gun laws in response to the Parkland shooting.