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The Voter’s Speakeasy featuring unbiased reporting and insight into life at Vote Smart from our staff, interns, and volunteers.

State Legislatures’ Reactions to Mass Shootings

2016 September 02


The issue of gun rights has been greatly debated in the United States over the past few years, and the June 12, 2016 mass shooting in Florida has once again brought the topic to the forefront of American politics.

Opponents of gun control measures typically believe that allowing citizens easier access to guns so that they can defend themselves will make America safer, while supporters generally advocate for tightening gun laws to prevent those with bad intent from obtaining guns, thus preventing future attacks on citizens.

In the 30 states that are Republican controlled at the moment, mass shootings have mostly resulted in the introduction of bills that loosen existing regulations on guns. Current trends in state legislatures include bills concerning concealed carry and background checks.

So far, Vote Smart has identified 42 state level key votes in 2016 regarding guns. This number will likely increase as states react to mass shootings.

Studies reveal that following a mass shooting in a state, the number of proposed gun control bills increases by 15 percent, and Republican controlled legislatures enact 75 percent more laws that loosen existing regulations on guns.

Although Democrat controlled, the California legislature has already passed 11 bills regarding gun control since the Orlando shooting, with Governor Jerry Brown signing 6 into law and vetoing the other 5.

AB 1135 and SB 880 establish definitions for “assault weapon” and “fixed magazine,” closing the “bullet button loophole.” To comply with California’s previous law that prohibited guns with detachable magazines, manufacturers developed guns with ...

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To Fly or Not to Fly: Current Legislation on Gun Sales

2016 August 16

 One of the most contentious issues in 2016 has been the question of gun control.

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