States Passed 67 New Gun Control Laws in 2018

By: - December 14, 2018 12:00 am

Student activists, including thousands participating in “March for our Lives” protests across the country last spring, helped inspire gun control legislative success across the country. David J. Phillip/ The Associated Press

Lawmakers in 27 states passed 67 new laws aimed at restricting gun access this year.

This latest analysis by the Giffords Law Center, a gun control organization founded by former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, the Arizona Democrat who survived a shooting in 2011, shows the unparalleled success the gun control movement has had this year, in the wake of continued mass shootings.

As Stateline reported in August, state lawmakers — inspired by a movement led by the student survivors of the February mass shooting in Parkland, Florida — enacted more than 50 new laws in the six months following the incident. The laws, including some passed in Republican-controlled states, ranged from banning bump stocks to allowing authorities to temporarily disarm potentially violent people under “red flag” laws.

Lawmakers were inspired by the Parkland students, who took to television, state legislatures and the streets to make their voices heard. The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School left 17 high school students and staff dead.

Before this year, however, such success in passing gun control legislation was not the trend in U.S. politics. In the years following the Dec. 14, 2012, Newtown, Connecticut, massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, most of the hundreds of state gun laws enacted expanded, rather than restricted, access to firearms, according to data compiled by Stateline earlier this year.

In those years, laws that sought to expand gun access included those that allowed permitless carry, guns on college campuses and arming teachers.

Many of those sorts of proposals failed this year, though, including proposals to allow residents to carry guns without permits in 10 states, the Giffords report found.

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Matt Vasilogambros
Matt Vasilogambros

Matt Vasilogambros covers voting rights, gun laws and Western climate policy for Stateline. He lives in San Diego, California.