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Gun control: US states divided as mass shootings increase

OLYMPIA, Rinse. –

Washington Governor Jay Inslee was quick to react to the carnage that took place this week at a Texas elementary school, send a tweet lists gun control measures the Democratic-controlled state has implemented. He finished with: “Your turn, Congress.”

But gun control measures seem to be going nowhere in the US Congress, and they are also becoming increasingly scarce in most states. Aside from a few Democratic-controlled states, the majority have either taken no action on gun control in recent years or have actively campaigned to expand gun rights.

That’s because they are either politically controlled by Republicans who oppose gun restrictions or are politically divided, leading to an impasse.

“I am in a position here where I can do something, I can make the law, but knowing that it is almost certain that it will get nowhere is a feeling of helplessness,” said the Supreme Court. Congressman Greg Leding, a Democrat in the Arkansas Legislature controlled by the GOP. He has unsuccessfully pushed for red flag laws that would allow authorities to take guns away from people who are determined to be a danger to themselves or others.

After Tuesday’s massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, which left 19 students and two teachers dead, Democratic governors and lawmakers across the country issued an urgent plea. ask Congress and their legislatures to pass gun restrictions. Republicans are primarily calling for more effort to address mental health and increase protections at schools, such as adding security guards.

Among them was Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who has repeatedly spoken about youth mental health struggles and argued that tougher gun laws in places like New York and California are ineffective. In Tennessee, GOP Representative Jeremy Faison tweeted that the state needed to have security personnel “in all of our schools,” but stopped short of promising to introduce legislation in next year’s legislative session: “Evil exists.” here and we have to protect the innocent from it,” Faison said.

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has repeatedly clashed with the GOP-controlled Legislature over gun laws. He called for the passage of global background checks and “red flag” legislation, but Republicans just ignored it. Earlier this year, Democrats vetoed a Republican bill that would allow holders of concealed carry permits to carry firearms in vehicles on school grounds and in churches located on campus. campus of a private school.

“We cannot accept that gun violence just happens,” Evers said in a tweet. “We cannot accept that children can go to school and never come home. We cannot accept outright denial of the actions of elected officials.”

On Wednesday, a day after the Texas shootings, legislative Democrats demanded the Wisconsin gun safety bills be reinstated, to no avail. Republican Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu and Speaker of Congress Robin Vos did not return messages seeking their response.

In Pennsylvania, Wednesday’s attempt by Democratic lawmakers in the GOP-controlled Legislature to ban the possession, sale, or manufacture of high-powered, semi-automatic firearms failed, as Republicans House Republicans expressed their staunch opposition to gun restrictions. Over the past two decades, the GOP-majority Legislature has rejected calls by Democratic governors to tighten gun control laws, including taking steps like expanding background checks or restricting gun control. limit the number of handgun purchases a person can make in a month.

The situation is similar in Michigan, which has a Democratic governor and a Republican-controlled Legislature. On Wednesday, Democrats in the state Senate were thwarted in their efforts to advance a group of bills that would require gun owners to lock guns and keep them away from minors.

Democratic Senator Rosemary Bayer said: “Every day we are inaction, we are choosing guns over children, whose school district includes a high school where a teenager was charged in a shooting. killed four people in November and the parents were charged with involuntary manslaughter, accused of failing to lock their guns. “Enough is enough. No more prayer, no more thinking, no more action.”

Republican Senator Ken Horn responded by urging discussion of other potential causes of gun violence.

“I am just pointing out that there are political solutions, but there are also many spiritual solutions,” he said. ”

Florida stands out as a Republican-controlled state that took action. The 2018 shooting at a Parkland high school that left 14 students and three staff members dead prompted lawmakers there to pass legislation with a red flag provision allowing law enforcement officers to Ask the court to seize a firearm from a person deemed a threat.

Democrats now want that expanded to allow family members or roommates to make a similar court request, but Republicans are reluctant to amend the law. Instead, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis said he wants lawmakers to allow people to carry handguns without a permit. The state currently requires a concealed firearms license.

While Republicans support red flag legislation in several other states, most of the legislative action around gun control in recent years has been in Democratic-led states.

In Washington state, the governor earlier this year signed a package of bills related to magazine limits, ghost guns and adding more gun-free locations, including vote counting sites.

In California on Wednesday, Governor Gavin Newsom and top Democratic leaders vowed to fast-track gun legislation, identifying about a dozen bills they plan to pass this year. Newsom highlighted a bill that would allow private citizens to enforce the assault weapons ban by filing a lawsuit — similar to the law in Texas that prohibits most abortions through civil enforcement.

The Democratic-controlled Legislature in Oregon has passed bills requiring background checks, banning firearms on public school campuses, allowing firearms to be taken from people at risk, and ensuring safe storage. keep the gun safe. On Wednesday, a group of six Democrats said more work needed to be done in the wake of the mass shootings in Texas and the racially motivated massacre in Buffalo, New York. They pledged additional action next year.

They said in a joint statement: “We run to solve big problems and make life better for our voters – and that includes engaging in gun lobbying. pipes and politicians who put profit and political power over children’s lives”.

But there are limits even in some Democratic-controlled states, underscoring the challenge of reaching consensus to combat the rising frequency of mass shootings in the US.

Rhode Island has passed restrictions in recent years, including measures to ban guns on school grounds and close a “straw collection” loophole that allows people to buy guns for others. But bills to ban high-volume ammunition magazines and assault weapons were approved by the committee, in part because an overwhelming Democratic panel made up of many lawmakers opposed the measures, with the reason they support the Second Amendment.

In Connecticut, bipartisan anti-gun violence laws were quickly followed after 20 children and six staff members were shot dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. But additional gun control measures has stalled this year in the Democratic-led General Assembly, largely due in part to a brief legislative session and Republican threats to uphold the law through a revision.

Democratic Governor Ned Lamont said on Wednesday he was unsure whether he would call a special session on the bills. They will place limits on bulk purchases of firearms and require registration of so-called ghost guns, untraceable firearms that can be assembled at home.

“I think it has become an extremely partisan argument right now in our society,” Lamont said. “It wasn’t like that, you know, 30, 40 years ago. So that’s worrisome, even in a state like Connecticut where, after Sandy Hook, we’ve had strong support. bipartisan power.”

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DeMillo reports from Little Rock, Arkansas. Associated Press state reporters from across the United States contributed to this report.

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