National gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety says it’s seeing momentum in the push for state-level gun regulation.
“When you look at what’s happening in statehouses across the country, the gun safety movement is winning in state after state — even in this challenging political environment — because volunteers and gun violence survivors have become the counterweight to the gun lobby,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, an Everytown group.
The issues of concern to Everytown range from tightening up criminal background checks to preventing domestic abusers from possessing firearms.
“Federal law, which applies in all states, prohibits spouses (and certain boyfriends and girlfriends …) who have been convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence crimes from having firearms. But without analogous state laws, state and local officials cannot enforce the prohibitions against domestic abusers,” the group said in a soon-to-be released gun law tracking web tool.
In the past three years, six states have passed domestic abuse laws where they pertain to firearms. In the same time, two states have gone further by passing laws requiring convicted domestic abuser to turn in their firearms.
Everytown’s web tool compares state gun laws across the country over a 25-year period, a spokesperson told Guns.com.
The group’s legal team spent more than a year putting together the information pertaining to 71 state gun laws going back to 1991 to offer a glimpse at how those laws have changed over the years, Everytown said.
The gun control group entered the gun debate when it launched in 2014 with an eye on expanding federal background checks to cover gun shows and Internet transactions. That plan ultimately failed, so the group decided to set its sites on individual states that don’t require all gun show sales to submit to federal background checks, only those brokered by a federally-licensed dealer.
In some states, private unlicensed sellers who don’t principally support their livelihood through the sale of guns don’t have to conduct a federal background check during a gun sale, though many venues may require it as a matter of policy and some vendors may do so on their own merit.
But groups like Everytown argue all gun sales should be federally-regulated and point to this loophole and the nation’s gun violence problem as a case in point.
Opponents of “universal” background checks say individual states have the right to decide their own laws concerning the sale of firearms. Gun rights groups like the National Rifle Association say creating such a federal umbrella is a stepping stone to a national registry and could eventually lead to confiscation of all guns in the country, much like what happened in Australia following the 1996 Port Arthur massacre.