3 States Pushing Stricter Gun Laws After Parkland (Plus 2 States That Want to Make Gun Ownership Easier)

Age restrictions, body armor bans, and constitutional carry.


Steven Cukrov/

Any momentum for federal action on gun legislation following the recent shooting in Parkland, Florida—which left 17 people dead—appears to be stalled for the moment.

In the wake of the shooting, Democratic lawmakers renewed their demands for an "assault weapon" ban, while President Donald Trump has pushed for arming teachers.

But with Congress predictably logjammed on the issue—and having chosen instead to tackle banking reform before the Easter recess—states have taken the initiative, with wildly divergent results.

1. Illinois

Leading the pack of Democratic states pushing stricter firearm regulations is Illinois. The legislature there is currently mulling a slew of bills to crack down on gun ownership.

House Bill 1467 would prohibit the possession of bump stocks, a relatively uncommon gun modification that increases the rate of fire of a semi-automatic weapon. Because of their relative unpopularity, bump stocks have become the low-hanging fruit of gun control measures. More sweeping is House Bill 1465, which bans those under the age of 21 from possessing any semi-automatic rifle that can hold more than 10 rounds and certain pistols with detachable magazines. Both bills have passed the state House and are now being considered by the state Senate.

Also under consideration is House Bill 1469, which would prohibit magazines that hold more than 10 rounds and ban civilians from wearing body armor—with exceptions for security guards, actors, and kids with Kevlar backpacks.

2. Washington

Not to be outdone is Washington state, which last week passed its own bump stock ban and is now moving on to bigger and better gun control measures. These include Senate Bill 6620, which would prohibit anyone under 21 from owning not just pistols—something state law already does—but literally any semi-automatic rifle. The bill also establishes a grant program to fund school resource officers—law enforcement employees who, you may remember, proved less than helpful during the Parkland shooting.

The National Rifle Association says that preventing law-abiding adults "from acquiring semi-automatic rifles would deny them access to the most modern and effective rifles for self-defense, thus depriving them of their constitutional rights." The bill has currently passed out of committee and is waiting to be voted on by the full state Senate before moving on to the state House.

3. Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania legislators are in the early stages of pushing gun control legislation. State Sen. Wayne D. Fontana (D–Allegheny) is currently soliciting co-sponsors for an "assault weapons" ban that would likely go beyond what even Washington and Illinois have so far proposed.

"My bill will broaden the [scope] of what the state classifies as assault weapons including banning more than 150-gun models," says Fontana in a memorandum to other state legislators that also refers to the "Lakeland, Florida" shooting and promises to mirror legislation passed in Connecticut shortly after Sandy Hook.

Fontana is also pushing for the creation of Extreme Risk Protection Orders, which would allow family members or law enforcement officers to petition a court to suspend a person's right to possess firearms for up to a year if a judge finds that person a risk to himself or others. Oregon passed a similar law last year; Washington, California, and Connecticut also have versions on the books.

The details of Fontana's proposals are still sketchy, as the legislation has yet to be drafted.

4. Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, meanwhile, state lawmakers are looking to loosen restrictions on firearms. Currently awaiting a floor vote from the state House of Representatives is H.B. 2951, which would eliminate the requirement that residents get a permit in order to carry a concealed weapon within state borders. Such "constitutional carry" legislation is already the law of the land in some 13 states.

The bill was proposed by Rep. Jeff Coody (R–Grandfield), who is also sponsoring legislation to give local school districts the power to allow teachers to carry firearms on campus.

"The permitting laws that we have take that right away and cause us to ask permission, pay a tax and wait on a state bureaucracy to determine whether or not they see fit to allow us to have that constitutional right back," Coody told The Oklahoman, saying his bill would restore Second Amendment protections in the state.

5. South Dakota

A similar spirit has animated gun legislation in South Dakota, where lawmakers are looking to expand the number of places one can carry a firearm. State law currently makes it a misdemeanor to possess a gun on school grounds, whether that school is public or not. But H.B. 1271 would lift the ban for private schools and during supervised school firearm training sessions.

* * *

As these very different state-level responses to the Parkland, Florida, shooting make clear, discussions about gun ownership are becoming increasingly polarized. Just a decade ago, it was not uncommon to find reliably blue states such as Oregon with relatively permissive gun laws, while "permitless" concealed carry was not yet a reality even in most red states. The pattern following each new shooting, however, has been for liberal states to ram through more restrictions on firearms as conservative states look to scrap anything that smacks of gun control.

NEXT: 319 NYPD Officers Committed Fireable Offenses But Kept Their Jobs

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  1. Illinois!!

    It is that permissive attitude towards firearm ownership that has caused Chicago to become one of the cities with the highest homicide rate!!

    1. If Chicago started cracking down on illegal gun ownership, we will hear liberals complaining about how it is negatively affecting low income neighborhoods and people of color.

      1. Exactly! That’s the reason Chicago is dead last when it comes to enforcing federal gun laws. Of course, the People’s Republic of Parkland is no better, there Sheriff Israel and the school had a policy of not reporting crimes. The commie worries about the prison-industrial pipeline, so instead of putting offenders in prison, they’re given second chances.

        Am I an authoritarian for wanting enforcement of our laws? Or have we become a country where collective outcomes are more important than individual punishments?

        1. “Am I an authoritarian for wanting enforcement of our laws?”

          Yes. That’s sort of the definition of ‘aurhoritarian’.

          Even if you disagree with that, having that as a blanket desire means supporting the bad, destructive, and inhumane laws that we have also.

    2. It’s almost like the guns cross state boundaries from adjacent, gun-happy states!

      1. This gun-happy Hoosier can attest to the fact that our crime-rate-with-guns is a small fraction of the adjacent-city of Chicago.

      2. “It’s almost like the guns cross state boundaries from adjacent, gun-happy states!”

        But in reality do not.

      3. And funny enough, crime is always worse in the gun-sad states. Hmmmmm

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  2. At the Atlantic, Peter Bainart writes what has to be in the running for the dumbest article written on guns this year. Conservatives are losing the culture war on guns. Why?

    This dynamic isn’t unique to guns. It’s how American politics now works. Even when conservatives win elections and pass laws, they look at the trend among cultural elites?the media, Hollywood, universities, even corporations?and feel like they’re losing. Even as they gain more political power, their declining cultural power makes them feel threatened and despised. Which makes them easy prey for people like Trump.

    It is everyone else who is losing their cultural power not Hollywood and the universities. Did this guy take a marijuana?

    1. But shift your lens from public policy to culture, and the last two weeks look very different. More than 20 corporations, including United Airlines, Hertz, and MetLife have cut ties with the NRA. Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods, two of America’s largest gun retailers, have both announced they will stop selling guns to people under the age of 21. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas gun-control activists have become national heroes, praised by numerous celebrities. And last week, at a CNN town hall, those students and their families booed NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch so loudly so that they almost drowned her out.

      So because a bunch of Prog virtue signaling CEOs decided to destroy their brand and the left staged its usual astro turf, conservatives are losing the culture war over guns? That is so stupid, I can’t believe that even the readers of the Atlantic will buy it.

      1. These corporate boycotts are meaningless. There are more 100,000 Americans with an FFL (Federal Firearms License), there are only 14,000 McDonalds. So if the commie companies won’t sell guns to the 18-20 set, any number of FFL’s will. The mom and pop gun store, big guns stores, etc. No 18-20 is going to say, “I’m going to wait until I’m 21 to buy the rifle I want,” specially since it’s not illegal to buy an AR-15.

        Think of CVS, they banned tobacco products! What did smokers do? They went to Walgreens. When companies don’t listen to the market, the market acts accordingly.

        Amazon for example listens to the market (except for confederate flags), which is why you can still buy all kinds of gun paraphernalia there, pro-gun t-shirts, even choose the NRA as your charity.

        1. Most gun crimes aren’t committed by 18-20 year olds with legally purchased firearms, anymore than they are committed using bump stocks. It’s a media tangent that has nothing to do with reality.

          Don’t get sucked in to their narrative.

      2. Hilarious. Walmart and Dick’s represent a tiny percentage of overall gun sales, and both of these stores stopped selling “assault weapons” years ago.

      3. “Astro turf?” Surely you jest.

        “Astro turf” is fake “grass roots”, like when a billionaire pays a bunch of people to show up at a demonstration. Or if the “cultural elites” spent money to bus in people from around the country to make a demonstration look bigger.

        These aren’t anything of the sort. These are children (who don’t understand the issues or principles involved) expressing their own thoughts and feelings.

        Whenever anybody — left or right — misuses terms with well-known meanings, I object. If we are going to communicate at all, we need to use words to mean what they mean, not to mean something else just to gain the emotional impact. That isn’t discussion, it’s propaganda.

    2. John, most of these lefties so live in a bubble and cannot fathom the majority of the USA actually being somewhat conservative, that they miss all the signals and don’t want to see the truth. Some lefties do know it, which is why you have mad rushes to pass gun control after kids get hurt because they know that is really the only time stuff like that might work.

      1. “The majority of the country is somewhat conservative”? Maybe, if you consider the midline to be somewhere around Bernie Sanders. Keep in mind that Hillary got a simple majority of the popular vote. [Unless you actually _believe_ Trump’s claim about illegal voting, which has zero verifiable facts to back it up.]

        The country is about evenly divided between “conservative” and “progressive/liberal”. It always will be. Why? Because elections are won by people who can appeal to the middle, where most people are. So at any given time, about half the people are more “conservative” than that midpoint, and half are more “liberal”.

        Of course, that could be changing. People have become so “my tribe above all else” that they will vote for a proven liar (on one side) or someone who has proven herself incompetent to handle classified information (on the other). And continue to support those lousy candidates even after one has shown his true colors on twitter, and the other continues to blame everybody but herself for her loss.

    3. It’s hard to beat a recent note that the Parkland shooter had a rifle, whose bullets are three times as fast as pistols, and therefore it makes no sense for a pistol packing popo to go up against a rifle.

      I honestly do not know if he just picked a particularly clumsy way of saying rifles are more powerful, or if he actually mean that pistol bullets cant hurt a rifle shooter, it was so stupidly worded.

  3. Can someone kindly explain the logic behind banning body armor? Not only is body armor not a weapon, but it is specifically designed to protect the wearer against weapons.

    1. The logic is that people will wear body armor and even the cops won’t be able to stop them. I am not defending it. I am just saying that is what it is.

      1. I am defending body armor. There is nothing in the Constitution that allows government to ban something.

        Even the prohibitionists knew that they needed a constitutional amendment to ban something.

        1. Is that a Robertson or Falwell law degree talking, or are you just repeating something you overheard at a backwater militia meeting?

          1. Oh look, argument to authority. So rare to see that from a leftist. (NOT)

        2. There is nothing in the Constitution that allows government to ban something.
          Citation needed. Big time.

        3. Technically, there’s nothing in the constitution that stops Congress from banning something.
          About the only limit is they need to use the Commerce Clause, and even that’s debatable as a limit.

          1. The Constitution enumerates the Federal government powers and reserves all other powers for the States or the People. You could argue that because the Constitution doesn’t specifically state the government has the power to ban anything, it doesn’t and that power belongs to the states.

            In practice, however, the Feds can pretty much do whatever they want. The States and the People can fight it in court.

            1. You could argue that because the Constitution doesn’t specifically state the government has the power to ban anything, it doesn’t and that power belongs to the states.

              Going to be hard with that Necessary and Proper clause sitting at the top of A1S8.

              1. You mean the FYTW Clause? The one that ignores the 9th and 10th Amendments that are a part of the Bill of Rights, which was specifically written because this clause was too fucking broad and vague?

                It is not at the top, it is at the bottom.

            2. It also says the only legal tender is gold and silver coin.

        4. If there is nothing in the COnstitution that allows the government to ban something, then they cannot ban private possession of atomic bombs. [Not that I think anybody is likely to acquire one any time soon — they’re very difficult to build, and it’s impossible to conceal testing one. And until you have tested it, you don’t know if you have one or just a very expensive boat anchor.]

          The Constitution gives the Federal government explicit power to control commerce. That means, I think, they are allowed to ban the sale and interstate movement of (frex) body armor. Banning wearing it… I’m not so sure.

          1. Statists gonna state.

            Bootlickers gonna lick.

    2. Body armor violates the right of police to kill you with low velocity non-armor piercing bulets.

    3. This is the… well, not logic per se, but it’s the reason.

      1. I guess banning body armor is a reasonable way to deal with criminals using home made body armor.

    4. It’s about making it harder for serfs to challenge the state. The argument is, “We must prevent dangerous criminals from having access to technology that protects them from police bullets!” But the tell is that they’re not just barring sales to criminals; they’re barring sales to everyone.

      1. Forgive my ignorance, but from what I understand wearing body armor doesn’t turn you into Superman, with bullets plinking off of you while you stand there with arms crossed and a smug smile.

        Even with armor, getting shot would probably be sufficient to knock you down and knock the wind out of you.

        1. From what I understand you are right, especially with soft body armor. Though it won’t be the impact of the bullet itself that knocks you down, but your reaction to the bullet itself which undoubtedly would hurt like hell.

          1. It depends on where you get shot and the angle of the shot. Your going to feel it though no matter what. The idea is to prevent holes in you which most people in combat die from bleeding out and concussions from blasts.

            Body armor can lessen the chance of holes, which ups soldiers survival rates. The rates would be better if the enemies of the USA used smaller than 7.62mm rounds.

            1. Give them AR-15s.

        2. I saw a video on the news a long time ago where a reporter was wearing body armor and going to let someone shoot him with a .22. It was priceless, obviously he thought it wasn’t going to hurt, but his yelling and cursing once hit told a different story.

          I was laughing my ass off.

          1. Richard Davis used to make a living selling his body armor with demonstrations where he would shoot himself point blank in the abdomen (always with a .38 IIRC) and, without missing a beat, turning and shooting targets (usu. bowling pins) down range.

            ‘Stings enough to make you mad’ and, if caught off-guard would likely knock you down, but the main point being not incapacitating in any real way.

        3. Even with armor, getting shot would probably be sufficient to knock you down and knock the wind out of you.

          Eh, maybe. The average 9mm and the average semi-pro boxer’s fist deliver analogous, if not largely similar amounts of energy. The efficiency of the armor in spreading that energy out for adsorption being the distinguishing factor.

        4. You will not be knocked down with any normal caliber. If the armor deflects you could still have soft tissue trauma. There are plenty of demonstrations of this in combat and in lab tests.

          Soft armor can deflect. Hard armor usually cracks if over-stressed.

    5. Civilian access to body armor makes it harder for cops to kill “bad guys”.

    6. but it is specifically designed to protect the wearer against weapons.

      You kind of answered your own question.

      Step one, disarm the people so only the state has guns.
      Step two, ban anything that makes the state’s guns less effective.

    7. Anyone who wants to ban body armor wants you to die.

    8. “ban civilians from wearing body armor?with exceptions for security guards, actors, and kids with Kevlar backpacks.”


      1. Well, someone did shoot Reagan.

  4. There should be a constitutional amendment to incorporate the Bill of Rights.

  5. “”The bill also establishes a grant program to fund school resource officers?law enforcement employees who, you may remember, proved less than helpful during the Parkland shooting.””

    I wonder if those SROs will be armed?

  6. Reasonable and common-sense, depending on your state.

  7. None of the proposed control measures will stop mass-assault/murder and only infringe on the rights of the average law-abiding person. **shocked face**

  8. The details of Fontana’s proposals are still sketchy, as the legislation has yet to be drafted.

    That’s going nowhere. The commonwealth if anything is heading in the other direction.

    1. Bingo. This isn’t going anywhere in PA.

  9. Bumpfire stocks do not “increase the rate of fire.” They enable some people, with practice, to increase THEIR rate of fire closer to the weapon’s maximum potential, which is mechanically limited by the firing mechanism.

    1. This is pointless pedantry.

      Bump stocks are designed to increase the rate of fire of a semi-automatic rifle into the range of fully automatic rifles. They should be viewed as an alteration to a semi-automatic to make it a fully automatic weapon.

      1. A bump stock does not elevate the rate of fire anywhere near the range of full auto…

      2. “They should be viewed as an alteration to a semi-automatic to make it a fully automatic weapon.”

        No, they shouldnt.

      3. ^What they said.

  10. So, the conservatives are promoting Constitutionally protected rights while liberal states are quashing them more earnestly…

    1. Seems about time for redefining who is actually conservative and who is actually liberal in American politics.

    2. Conservatives and liberals both are debating where to draw the line on what “arms” are covered by the 2nd Amendment. There is already agreement that, like speech and other rights, the Constitutional right to “bear arms” is not unlimited.

      Further, the Constitution doesn’t say that the right to bear arms means a right to bear them without registration or background checks. Rather, in the sense of a “well-regulated militia,” registration and background checks seem to align well with that principle.

      1. The “well-regulated militia” phrasing is in the prefatory clause to the 2nd amendment. It does not grammatically modify the right mentioned in the main text of the amendment.

        If I say, “I like to drink Bloody Marys in the morning, so alcohol is allowed in my refrigerator,” this does not imply that alcohol unsuitable for making a Bloody Mary is not allowed in my refrigerator.

  11. Marxists proposing gun confiscation laws in Pennsylvania
    New York refused gun control and so will Pennsylvania..

    New Yorks 1,000,000 new illegal gun owners..


    One million plus new felons, all armed with scary, high capacity, media labeled assault weapons! The deadline for New York residents to register their so called “Assault Weapons” and “High” (read standard) Capacity Magazines came and went. An estimated million plus, formerly law abiding, gun owners have refused to comply with Cuomo and down state Democrat’s naive belief that the NY Safe Act, passed in a so called emergency session of the New York legislature, could force free people to register their hard earned property.

    And who can blame these once lawful gun owners, with a president that picks and chooses which laws he will follow or enforce, as well as an Federal Attorney General that operates daily with a Contempt of Congress charge and gun running scandal, “Fast & Furious”, hanging over his head. Why should the average New York joe, bother to follow the law, especially when it is in direct conflict with the Constitution of the United States, the one true law of the land.

  12. Washington state knows that no 18 year old can be trusted with a self-loading .22!

    Them’s dangerous murderkillslaughtermachines, you know.

  13. State Sen. Wayne D Fontana

    They say the Mindbenders were a lot better after he left.

  14. This is one area where I’m not sure federalism is going to benefit us much. I think a national background check and a national registration system are both required. We’ve already seen what happens when we keep these databases separate–it lets people who shouldn’t have guns get them.

    I think, state by state, laws allowing temporary removal of guns using a lawfully obtained restraining order should be considered.

    That said, I don’t see issues with most semi-automatics if the magazine size is mandated to a maximum 10 rounds. That’s plenty for hunting or self-protection and not enough to mow down a room full of innocents.

    As for age–18 and over. If you can carry one on your day job or weekend duty, you should be able to have one at home. Age is less of an issue here than being able to buy an AR-15 with a 100-round magazine after having been served with a restraining order for making threats.

    1. How is a maximum magazine size of ten rounds plenty for self-protection if there are eleven thugs attacking you?

      1. Lefties don’t care about you protecting yourself.

        It will start as 10 round limitation, then down to 6, then 1, then none.

  15. Who is more likely to criminally misuse firearms?

    – a lawful gun purchaser?

    – a gangbanger?

    it seems to me that the age limit for joining a gang is the age limit that should be increased.

    1. You forgot to add ‘cops’ to your list. Painful omission.

  16. What we need is what the 2nd says, national constitutional carry. No permission required to have or carry anything you want.

  17. While I agree with most of what Britschgi said, I object to the euphemism “Constitutional carry” for concealed carry.

    The Second Amendment says we have(*) the right to keep (own/possess) and bear (carry) arms. It does not say we have a right to carry concealed weapons. I am not convinced that we _do_ have such a right. I am also not convinced that we _don’t_.

    (*) Note “says we have the right”, not “grants”. Our rights do not come from the Constitution, the Constitution recognizes our pre-existing rights.

    1. I’ll add: using “constitutional carry” for “concealed carry” is like using “pro-choice” and “pro-life” for the two opposing positions on abortion. One side is for allowing women to have an abortion (and allowing doctors to perform it), while the other is “pro-life” until conception. After that, they don’t give a damn about you.

    2. The Second Amendment states that Congress shall not infringe on our God given or natural right to keep and bear arms. It does not limit that right to whether they are carried openly or concealed.

      1. The DEA, IRS, ATF, SS and a hundred other Gestapo agencies all carry concealed weapons. See? All these fake quibblings and tortuous pettifoggery really boil down to the same thing as the Kristallnacht laws. Today, in the old Third Reich and Warsaw Pact People’s States, there are nervous militarized police with assault weapons everywhere, and no individual rights anywhere.

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  19. Why don’t they just “ban” murder? Maybe assault and robbery too? Throw in heroin.

  20. When we first moved to Washington state darn near 20 years ago now, it was pretty awesome. The split between Rs and Ds made it a pretty solid state. It was liberal in a lot of the good ways, and conservative in a lot of the good ways. Since then it has just been going slowly downhill… Now it seems to be going downhill faster and faster.

    Examples: They were sane on drug laws, you could walk in and walk out with a gun same day, no state income tax, etc.

    They’re trying to undo almost every single thing that made this state appealing. Which is why I will be moving in the next couple years. It’s a shame, because Western Washington is a pretty gorgeous place!

  21. The Kristallnacht states are 2 Dem and 1 the Gee Oh Pee took by less than a percentage point. The Libertarian party got 3.3 times the vote difference between the Stalinistas and the Hitleristas in Pennsylvania.

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