Trendwatch: Gun Laws Moving Swiftly through the States in 2019

Colorado Capitol
In Colorado, a bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives that would establish a process to obtain extreme risk protection orders. H.B. 1177 would allow for firearms to be temporarily removed from people at risk of harming themselves or others.

Gun violence prevention has already featured prominently in the 2019 state and federal legislative cycle. Our latest edition of Gun Law Trendwatch breaks down what you need to know.

On February 6, the House Judiciary Committee chaired by Rep. Jerry Nadler (NY-10) held the first gun violence prevention hearing in more than a decade. Activists, survivors, and experts, including Giffords Law Center Executive Director Robyn Thomas, powerfully testified to the toll that gun violence takes and the solutions that can address this crisis.

Last week, we remembered the one-year anniversary of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Though nothing can bring back the 17 students and school staff who were killed that day, or the more than 36,000 Americans who are senselessly killed each year by guns, the Parkland shooting sparked a tidal wave of activism in 2018 that resulted in unprecedented state legislative action that has continued into 2019.

We’re only 8 weeks into 2019, but gun safety bills are already moving rapidly:

  • Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak signed a background check law.
  • Six gun violence prevention bills are on the governor’s desk in New York.
  • Legislators in New Mexico have passed four bills through their first chamber.
  • Comprehensive reform packages are pending in New Jersey, California, and New Hampshire.

You can read the full roundup here, or take a look below for a summary of where gun safety legislation stands in states around the country today.


Gun Violence Prevention Bills

At least 23 states currently have legislation pending to strengthen or enact background checks.

  • Nevada SB 143 was signed by the governor.
  • New Mexico HB 8 passed the house and SB 8 passed the senate.
  • Illinois HB 888 has a hearing February 19.
  • New Hampshire HB 109 has a hearing February 21.
  • Washington HB 1465 has a hearing February 20.
  • Maryland HB 96 and HB 786 have hearings February 25, SB 346 has a hearing February 21, and SB 737 has a hearing February 27.

At least 18 states have bills pending that would close domestic violence loopholes.

  • New Mexico HB 87 passed the house and SB 328 passed a committee.
  • North Dakota HB 1393 passed the house.
  • Indiana HB 1643 passed a committee.
  • Illinois HB 887 has a hearing February 19.
  • Washington HB 1225 and SB 5143 each passed a committee, and HB 1786 has a hearing scheduled for February 20.

Extreme risk protection order bills are pending in at least 20 states.

  • Indiana HB 1651 passed the house.
  • New Mexico HB 83 passed the house.
  • Nebraska LB 58 has a hearing on February 28.
  • New Hampshire HB 687 has a hearing scheduled for March 5.
  • Washington SB 5027 passed a committee and SB 5745 has hearings February 19 and 21.

Dangerous Gun Lobby Bills

Dangerous bills to allow guns in schools are pending in at least 26 states.

  • Virginia HB 1656 and HB 2721 passed both chambers.
  • Indiana SB 127 passed the senate and HB 1253 passed the house.
  • Florida SB 598 has a hearing February 19.
  • South Dakota SB 122 passed a committee.
  • Montana HB 325 and HB 357 passed a committee.
  • Nebraska LB 343 has a hearing February 28.
  • Maryland HB 1247 has a hearing February 25.

There are reckless permitless carry bills pending in at least nine states.

  • Oklahoma HB 2597 passed the house and HB 1142 passed a committee.
  • Virginia SB 1012 passed a committee.

Undoubtedly, the gun violence prevention landscape has changed dramatically since the Parkland tragedy just over a year ago. The incredible courage of the students and the voices of gun violence survivors, activists, and experts will resound throughout 2019 and far into the future to continue this historic progress.

About Trendwatch: Distributed biweekly during the state legislative cycle, Gun Law Trendwatch rounds up and analyzes trends in state gun legislation, documents important victories, and monitors the gun lobby’s activity in legislatures across the United States.