NEW YORK: Democratic lawmakers are pushing stricter gun laws in statehouses across the country, emboldened by sweeping electoral victories in 2018 and confident that public opinion is on their side a year after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, reports Reuters.
Last year’s wins handed Democrats control of the governorship and legislature in several more states, including New Mexico, New York, Colorado, Maine and Nevada, and lawmakers are using their new power to draft or pass gun laws.In Colorado, Tom Sullivan spent years urging lawmakers to tackle gun violence after his 27-year-old son, Alex, was killed in the 2012 movie theater shooting there.
Now Sullivan is helping write those bills after winning a state Assembly seat, part of a Democratic wave in November that gave the party full control of Colorado’s government for the first time in five years.
“People are standing up and having their voices heard,” said Sullivan, who wears his son’s leather jacket to the capitol. “Now they have to see me every single day.”
Polls show Americans favor tougher gun laws after decades of mass shootings, including the Feb. 14, 2018, massacre at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 students and staff members. But the political might of the National Rifle Association – and its deep coffers – made supporting gun restrictions a risky proposition for many officials.
That changed last year, when Democratic candidates ran on the issue of gun violence in unprecedented numbers.
At the federal level, where Democrats captured the U.S. House of Representatives after eight years of Republican control, nearly 80 percent of the 62 freshman Democrats elected in November included gun safety in their campaign platforms, a Reuters analysis found. That far outstripped the proportion of candidates who did so in 2016.