Giffords Law Center Gun Law Trendwatch: March 29, 2022
A Roundup and Analysis of the Latest State Firearm Legislation
Gun Violence Is a Bipartisan Issue. Preventing It Should Be As Well
Every other week during the state legislative cycle, Gun Law Trendwatch breaks down trends in the gun violence prevention universe. We take an in-depth look at a topic of particular interest to legislators and advocates—this week it’s the growing bipartisan support for gun violence prevention policies in states across the country—and provide updates on significant gun safety and gun lobby bills as they move through state legislatures.
State of the States
Legislators From Both Parties Are Coming Together to Enact Policies That Save Lives
Despite the narrative pushed by the NRA, the majority of gun violence prevention policies have vast bipartisan support among Americans. Year after year, polls find that between 80 and 90% of all Americans support universal background checks laws. A 2020 poll found that 90% of likely voters, including 83% of gun owners and 83% of Republican voters, support laws requiring permits to purchase a firearm.
And while extremist legislators in certain states are pushing ahead with dangerous policies like permitless carry, even in the face of significant public opposition, other legislators from both parties are coming together to enact the policies people want—the ones that save lives.
Congress Passes Bill with Critical Funding for Gun Violence Prevention
Mar 11, 2022
On March 11, congressional Democrats and Republicans passed the omnibus federal spending bill that includes $45 million for community violence intervention (CVI) programming and a reauthorization for the Violence Against Women Act.
There is also bipartisan support at the state level for these laws. In 2022, New Mexico passed a bipartisan bill (HB 2) that directs $9 million over three years to CVI programs that target gun violence disproportionately impacting communities of color. In Oregon, the governor signed HB 4045, a bipartisan bill that provides $5 million over two years for CVI programming. Lawmakers from both parties in Oregon sent another bill to the governor (HB 5202) that would provide $15 million over two years to address community violence. Two bipartisan CVI funding bills (HB 29 and HB 30) are also in concurrence in Virginia.
Two Republican state lawmakers in Alabama introduced HB 460 and SB 301, which would close the “boyfriend loophole” and prohibit gun possession by dating partners convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence or subject to a protective order. A bill in Iowa (HB 825) that would make it easier to prohibit gun access by people subject to domestic violence restraining orders is moving through the legislature, thanks to Democrat and Republican support.
In Maryland, two bills (SB 387 and HB 425) that would strongly regulate untraceable firearms known as “ghost guns” have passed their chambers of origin with bipartisan support. And a Vermont bill (SB 4) sponsored by Democratic lawmakers, which will extend the time the FBI has to complete a background check on a gun purchaser, was signed by the governor, a Republican, on March 25. Although the governor could have chosen to let the bill become law by default, he chose to sign it in a show of support for the legislation.
Bipartisan efforts to address America’s scourge of gun violence are not new—such legislation has been enacted in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Utah, and other states in past years. The more that legislators recognize that gun violence does not discriminate between political parties and come together to take action, the safer all Americans will be.
JOIN THE FIGHT
Gun violence costs our nation 40,000 lives each year. We can’t sit back as politicians fail to act tragedy after tragedy. Giffords Law Center brings the fight to save lives to communities, statehouses, and courts across the country—will you stand with us?
Gun Safety Spotlight
Funding for Community Violence Intervention Programs Addresses the Pandemic Gun Violence Surge
The dramatic increase in gun homicides in 2020 and 2021 took a disproportionate toll on our nation’s most vulnerable populations. This surge has led to a renewed focus on funding for community violence intervention (CVI) programs, which have been consistently shown to reduce gun homicides in the communities most affected.
In 2020, the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocated billions of dollars to local and state governments to ameliorate the impact of the pandemic. In 2021 and again in 2022, several states have allocated these federal funds, as well as funding from state sources, to CVI programing.
On the Front Lines: Elevating the Voices of Violence Intervention Workers
Oct 19, 2021
In 2022, New Mexico enacted HB 2, which appropriates $9 million to the Department of Health for CVI grants to be distributed to community-based organizations over three years. Oregon’s governor recently signed one CVI bill (HB 4045) and lawmakers have sent her another bill (HB 5202). Together, these bills would allocate $20 million over two years from state and federal dollars for CVI efforts. Also on the governor’s desk is a bill in Washington State (SB 5693) that would appropriate $7.2 million for a new state Office of Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention as well as for CVI programs.
Two budget bills in conference in Virginia (HB 29 and HB 30) would appropriate significant funding for CVI. HB 30 would also create 13 staffing positions to support the Virginia Center for Firearm Violence Intervention and Prevention. The budget bills fund CVI proposals presented in SB487 and HB833, which also are heading to conference committee.
Maryland SB 290, which would allocate $4.66 million for CVI programs, passed both chambers and is in concurrence. An enacted bill in Michigan (SB 82) will provide approximately $600,000 for CVI strategies in two counties.
Despite the heartbreaking surge in gun violence over the past two years, we know the solutions to this crisis. It is promising to see more and more states making substantial and sustained investments in such efforts in 2022 and hopefully beyond.
Gun Lobby Extremism
Gun Zealots Double Down on Permitless Carry Despite the Evidence and Public Opposition
The evidence is clear—weak concealed carry permitting laws are associated with significantly higher rates of violent crime and handgun homicides. But even a weak law is better than no law. For good reasons, laws that repeal permitting and background check prerequisites to carry a gun in public are widely unpopular among the public and law enforcement.
Despite the risks to public safety and the unpopularity of the policy, gun extremists in states controlled by Republicans continue to enact permitless carry. On March 10, 14, and 23, Alabama, Ohio, and Indiana became the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th states, respectively, to eliminate their concealed carry permitting laws. Two permitless carry bills in Georgia (HB 1358 and SB 319) are also moving steadily through the legislature.
Of the 23 states with permitless carry, 17 of them passed these laws within the last seven years.
Gun zealot legislators in these states have rejected the data and the desires of their constituents in favor of gun extremism. Fortunately, however, in 2022, lawmakers in Florida, Virginia, and Wisconsin sent these radical and reckless bills to the trash can where they belong.
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Bills in Motion
In the first few weeks of 2022, courageous state legislators have introduced bills to strengthen background check requirements, fund proven community violence intervention programs, improve domestic violence prohibitions, and regulate or prohibit ghost guns in 31 states. Meanwhile, the gun lobby continues to push its dangerous guns in schools and permitless carry bills in over a dozen states. We’re committed to helping state legislatures enact laws that will make our communities safer and push back against harmful gun lobby legislation.
Gun Safety Bills
- BACKGROUND CHECKS: Massachusetts HB 3729 has passed a committee. Vermont SB 4 has been sent to the governor. At least 10 states have bills pending that would require all gun buyers to be subject to background checks, or would strengthen existing background check laws.
- COMMUNITY VIOLENCE: Oregon HB 4045 was enacted. California AB 1929 and AB 2534 have hearings on 4/5. Colorado SB 145 has a hearing on 3/29. Connecticut HB 5397 and SB 477 have hearings scheduled for 3/28. Illinois HB 3057 and HB 5336 will be heard on 3/30. Minnesota SB 3643 has a hearing on 3/29. Connecticut HB 5399 passed a committee. Maryland SB 290 passed both chambers and is in the senate for concurrence. Minnesota HB 4200 passed a committee. Virginia HB 29, HB 30, and HB 833 have passed both chambers and are in conference. Washington SB 5693 has been sent to the governor. At least 17 states and the District of Columbia have bills pending that relate to the allocation, protection, or administration of funding for evidence-based violence prevention programs.
- DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: Vermont SB 4 has been sent to the governor. Iowa HB 825 has passed a senate committee. Louisiana SB 66 has passed a committee. Legislation to strengthen domestic violence laws is pending in at least 15 states.
- GHOST GUNS: Washington HB 1705 was enacted on 3/23. California AB 2156 is scheduled for a hearing on 3/29, and AB 2552 and SB 1327 have hearings on 4/5. Maryland HB 425 and SB 387 passed their chambers of origin. Bills that would regulate or prohibit untraceable firearms are pending in at least 10 states and the District of Columbia.
Gun Lobby Bills
- GUNS IN SCHOOLS: Arizona HB 2448 has passed a senate committee. Massachusetts SB 1588 has passed a committee. Dangerous bills to allow guns in school or on campus are pending in at least 14 states.
- PERMITLESS CARRY: Alabama HB 272 was enacted on 3/10. Indiana HB 1296 was enacted on 3/24. Ohio SB 215 was enacted on 3/14. Georgia HB 1358 passed a senate committee. There are reckless permitless carry bills pending in at least nine states.
- STAND YOUR GROUND: Missouri HB 2118 passed a committee. Bills that make it easy to use deadly force in public and evade justice are pending in at least 12 states.
- LIABILITY FOR ENFORCING GUN LAWS: Wyoming SB 102 was enacted on 3/21. Bills that would make law enforcement officers or other state and local government officials personally liable for enforcing federal gun laws are pending in at least seven states.
HERE TO HELP
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