WASHINGTON — In advance of tomorrow’s March for Our Lives protests across the country, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee is highlighting the continued work of Democratic state legislatures to pass gun safety measures and save lives. Democratic-led gun control legislation such as “red flag” laws, background checks, permits, secure storage, and ghost gun bans have been proven to lower gun violence rates. While Republican-led states continue to weaken their existing gun laws, Democratic state legislatures are helping to keep Americans alive and improve the safety of our communities.
“Every state with a Democratic-controlled legislature has taken action on gun safety in recent years,” said DLCC executive director Heather Williams. “While state Republicans cash the NRA’s checks and do their bidding in state capitols, Democratic state lawmakers have been proactively working to prevent gun fatalities. State Democrats are listening to the voices of countless young activists, like those with March for Our Lives, and the majority of Americans who are demanding action. State Democrats are responding to the needs of our communities by passing popular, common-sense gun safety measures.”
Keeping Guns Out of Dangerous Hands
- “Red flag” laws, which permit the temporary removal of firearms from a person who may be a danger to themselves or others, have been passed in 17 Democratic-controlled states, including Colorado, Delaware, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.
- New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Vermont, and Virginia passed or strengthened background check requirements for gun owners – a measure supported by the vast majority of Americans, including gun owners.
- California, Colorado, Oregon, and Virginia passed laws to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers or stalkers, a step proven to lower the rates of intimate partner violence.
Responsible Gun Ownership
- Colorado, Hawaii, Connecticut, Nevada, Maine, and Delaware enacted measures to require the safe storage of guns. The majority of gun owners believe that guns should be kept in a locked place when there are children living in the home.
- Gun owners in Colorado and Virginia are required to report missing or stolen guns. Laws like these are associated with a 30% lower risk of guns being purchased in one state and then recovered in another state after a crime.
- New York and California passed legislation to raise the age requirements for some gun purchases. Since 2018, six out of the nine deadliest mass shootings in the country were committed by people 21 years old or younger.
- At least 12 Democratic-controlled states have passed restrictions on ghost guns, which are untrackable, homemade guns that can be assembled in less than an hour, including Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington.
Protecting Vulnerable Locations
- In an effort to prevent gun violence and protect voting rights, Colorado and Washington Democrats passed bills to ban firearms from polling centers. The presence of guns at the polls intimidates voters and discourages civic participation. The Republican National Committee was largely barred from pursuing “ballot security” measures for over three decades partly due to allegations it sent armed poll watchers to largely Black precincts to intimidate voters.
- Democratic lawmakers in Vermont passed legislation that bans firearms from hospitals.
- Firearms were banned from the Oregon state capitol grounds, as places like these are targets for politically-motivated violence.
Tracking the Problem
- Maine passed a law requiring the state’s CDC to provide an annual report on firearm deaths in the state, increasing visibility for the victims of gun violence and helping lawmakers shape future gun safety legislation.
- Last year, Colorado created the Office of Gun Violence Prevention, which educates the general public about state and federal laws and existing resources relating to gun violence prevention.
- The Commission on Gun Violence Intervention and Prevention was established by Connecticut Democrats to organize funding, programs, and strategy to reduce gun violence.