States Pass Congressional Gun Plans

Gun enthusiasts gather at the annual New York State Arms Collectors Association Albany Gun Show last winter. Various gun-related measures are stalled in Congress, but states have adopted some of the same measures on their own. (AP)

Vice President Joe Biden said yesterday that the White House won’t stop fighting for gun control measures—even though none of the proposals has come close to getting through Congress since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., six months ago.

The Senate has considered 10 gun-related measures since January, both expanding and limiting gun access, according to the Congressional Research Service (the House has not taken any action). None has reached the 60-vote threshold agreed to by the Senate for any bill to move forward.

In some states, however, those same gun control policies are now law. So where have the ideas caught on? 

IDEA: The White House and Senate Democrats are pushing to require background checks for private firearm transfers, such as those at gun shows. This is also known as the universal background check plan.

IN THE STATES: Universal background checks are now required in New York, Colorado, Connecticut and Delaware. Nevada lawmakers also passed a universal background check bill, but Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval vetoed it.

IDEA: President Obama asked Congress to reinstate the assault weapons ban which expired in 2004. California Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein drafted a bill to permanently ban the manufacture and sale of certain semi-automatic firearms, like the Bushmaster .223 caliber rifle, which was used by shooter Adam Lanza in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.  The plan failed in the Senate with only 40 senators voting for the plan. .

Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal offered a plan to restrict the sale and manufacture of gun magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. It was defeated, receiving only 46 votes.

IN THE STATES: Connecticut, Maryland, New York and Colorado all passed laws prohibiting the manufacturing, sale or purchase of any gun with a magazine that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. In Connecticut and New York, anyone who owned an assault weapon when the new laws took effect must register them with the state.

IDEA: Wyoming Republican Sen. John Barrasso proposed a plan to reduce state grant funding to any state that releases information on gun owners to the public, especially data on concealed carry permit holders. It was adopted as an amendment with 67 votes, but the main bill was never voted on.

IN THE STATES: Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, Utah, New York, Maine, Virginia and Louisiana all blocked concealed carry permit information from public records law this year. 

IDEA: Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn proposed a measure that would have forced all the states to recognize concealed carry permits from all other states. Previously, this was called the National Right To Carry Reciprocity Act, which has passed the House of Representatives in previous sessions. Currently, states can choose if they will recognize out of state permits. Cornyn’s plan was considered as an amendment but it failed to meet the 60-vote threshold.

IN THE STATES: Alabama agreed to recognize concealed carry permits from the 25 states which recognize Alabama-issued permits. Currently, 13 states recognize concealed-carry permits from every state.

For more on what states did on gun policy this year, check out this Stateline timeline:

Or for a list of changes, check out this Stateline chart:


Related Stories

    • Stateline Story
    April 12, 2013
    New State Gun Laws Show Power of One-Party Control image description

    Despite the push from President Obama on gun control, states are going their own way on new gun laws—especially ones dominated by one party or the other. Which states passed gun control and which states loosened regulations? more

    • Stateline Story
    October 18, 1999
    image description

    The U.S. constitutional tension between the right to freedom of religious expression and its limits has long posed thorny policy questions for politicians and educational officials, but in the last year those questions have grown more acute. The debate over rights and limits exploded with new force after last April 20 when two youths carried out the most violent and deadly school house massacre in the nation's history at Colorado's Columbine High School, killing 15 people including themselves. more

    • Stateline Story
    January 13, 2000
    image description

    The Illinois Legislature convenes today facing an array of fiscal issues. But they are likely to take a back seat to an ongoing fight over a gun control provision of an anti-crime bill between Gov. George Ryan and a fellow Republican who leads the state Senate. For more information, click on more

    • Stateline Story
    August 27, 1999
    image description

    While lawmakers in Wisconsin and Massachusetts remain stalemated over the state budget, the California Legislature, in its second week back in session, has turned its attention to gun control -- again. Earlier this summer, the legislature completed work on two gun control measures, which Gov. Gray Davis, a Democrat, has already signed. more

    • Stateline Story
    August 20, 1999
    image description

    After a monthlong summer recess, California lawmakers returned to Sacramento this week for the final stretch of the legislative session. No sooner were they back at work when Gov. Gray Davis angered fellow Democratic leaders by presenting his HMO reform plan to members of the press before they got a peek at it. Thursday the state Assembly narrowly approved legislation to ban the manufacture and sale of unsafe handguns in the state. West Virginia legislators got right down to business at an 80-minute special session by unanimously passing a bill that would free up as much as $11 million to help farmers and communities hard hit by this summer's severe drought conditions. Click on more