Bill pushes states to roll back preemption laws that handcuff the ability of local lawmakers to address gun violence through ordinances
June 25, 2019 — Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization led by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, praised the introduction of the Local Public Health and Safety Protection Act by Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO) and Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL) today. The bill provides grants to states which allow local governments to enact gun safety ordinances in their communities, such as universal background checks or prohibitions on carrying firearms in public parks or government buildings. The grants would be used to assist localities with the implementation of those laws.
“In countless cities and counties across the country, Americans are fed up with state and federal lawmakers who refuse to take action on the gun violence epidemic,” said Robin Lloyd, Managing Director at Giffords. “Local elected officials in such communities have too often seen the devastation of gun violence firsthand and want to do something about it. If the state or federal government won’t act, we should ensure these leaders have the opportunity to pass ordinances that can address this crisis. We are grateful to Congressman Clay and Congresswoman Kelly for highlighting this important issue and introducing legislation to enhance the ability of communities to enact laws that will save lives.”
Most states allow local governments to pass legislation in the interest of public health and safety. Through gun lobby pressure, however, 43 states have explicitly removed authority from local governments to regulate guns and ammunition, thereby creating a dangerous exception to the traditional rule of local authority. Some of those states have gone even further, enacting extreme preemption laws that subject local officials to personal liability, removal from office, and even criminal penalties for regulating firearms and ammunition.