Lawmakers around US take action on gun-control bills
State lawmakers across the U.S. are considering new laws in the wake of the Florida high school shooting, and legislatures from Maine to Alaska took action on Wednesday.
A rundown of what’s happening in statehouses:
Lawmakers had mixed reactions to legislation that would let authorities temporarily take guns from people deemed to be a danger to themselves or others. While the measure has been pending for more than a year, it got its first hearing before the House Judiciary Committee and received strong support during public testimony.
A proposal introduced in the state Senate on Wednesday would raise the age for buying rifles and shotguns from 18 to 21 and prevent people from buying more than one firearm within a 30-day window. Those restrictions are already in place for handgun purchases in California, and the measure would extend it to long guns.
The state House endorsed proposals to ban bump stocks, raise the minimum age to 21 for buying assault-style weapons, and create state licensing of gun dealers. The bump-stock ban and higher age for assault-style gun sales need Senate approval, but lawmakers expect quick action.
Lawmakers advanced a half-dozen measures to tighten the state’s already-strict gun laws. The bills include one to require the seizure of firearms when a mental health professional determines someone poses a threat and another to require background checks for private gun sales.
Republicans in the state Senate blocked an effort by Democrats to force a vote on four gun control bills. The bills would have strengthened the state’s background check system and set aside state funding for research into firearm violence. Others would have banned bump stocks and created a new protection order to bar people considered to be a danger to themselves or others from possessing guns.
The Legislative Council approved a “red flag” bill allowing police to temporarily confiscate guns of those deemed to be a danger, a bill aimed at raising awareness of those who could pose a danger and one authorizing borrowing for school security. The approvals mean lawmakers will debate the bills in the coming weeks. Lawmakers rejected bills aimed at banning high-capacity magazines and bump stocks.
The Vermont Senate unanimously approved a proposal that would allow police to take firearms and explosives from people judged to be an extreme risk to themselves or others. Under the proposal, a police officer would need to get an order from a judge before seizing any firearms.