6 Bold Ideas for Gun Reform That Could Actually Happen

6 Bold Ideas for Gun Reform That Could Actually Happen

In the wake of back-to-back mass casualty shootings in Colorado and Georgia, President Joe Biden reiterated his support for legislation to expand background checks and ban assault weapons. For many gun violence prevention advocates, the emphasis on these reforms — ideas that have been floated after every major tragedy since Sandy Hook — isn’t especially encouraging. It’s not that they aren’t welcomed proposals (a majority of Americans still support both), it’s that advocates are tired of waiting — and they now see opportunity to make progress, perhaps even have a bigger impact, through a variety of other initiatives that don’t depend on Congress. Here are some of those ideas — proposals that range widely but have one thing in common: they’re state and local-level initiatives that don’t count on major action from the federal government. 1. Protecting home rule from state preemption Since the 1980s, the NRA has been lobbying state legislatures to strip cities and counties of the authority to enact their own municipal gun ordinances . This type of legislation is called preemption, and it’s pervasive — there are now broad firearms preemption laws in 43 states. Once a preemption law is passed, the National Rifle Association or other gun rights groups can sue a city over ordinances already on the books (banning guns in bars or prohibiting open carry in city parks, for example). Any gun regulation that exceeds state law becomes a potentially expensive liability. Because rural areas are disproportionately represented in state legislatures, this […]

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