Hundreds of legislators from across the country gathered in Nashville, Tennessee, for the annual meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures this week to talk about state policy matters. Most of the more than one dozen GOP lawmakers interviewed by Stateline maintained their firm opposition to new gun legislation in their states. These mass shootings, while tragic, are not reason enough to abandon their principles and pass gun control measures they think violate constitutional rights and a proud gun tradition, they said.
Arizona state Rep. John Kavanagh said he’s not going to follow what he called a “kneejerk” and “absurd” call to ban assault weapons.
“A dramatic shooting does bring attention, but so much is false information,” Kavanagh said. “Everyone is demonizing the semiautomatic weapon that has some mean-looking stuff on it. There’s too much emotion and not enough fact-based reason.”
Democrats are pushing hard for state laws to regulate extended magazines that hold more ammo and some are rallying around assault weapon bans. Stateline says:
So far this legislative year, 22 mostly Democratic states and the District of Columbia have enacted 47 “gun safety” laws, according to the Giffords Law Center, a gun control organization founded by former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the Arizona Democrat who survived a 2011 shooting. (The group includes laws that set up programs to reduce urban gun violence and measures to keep guns away from children in its count.) Many of these measures were inspired by the advocacy of the student survivors of the Parkland, Florida, massacre last year.
But even as Republicans in Congress coalesce around red flag bills, many of their statehouse colleagues remain skeptical toward gun control legislation, judging from the interviews at NCSL.