Use Your Event to Tell Your State Legislature: If Congress Won’t Act, Then States Should by Passing Common Sense Gun Laws


If Congress refuses to take up real, concrete legislation at the federal level to prevent gun violence, states must act. It has become abundantly clear that our federal representatives are willing to trade “thoughts and prayers” and votes for NRA money. As we’ve learned in other federal fights, it is extremely hard to convince a Republican-controlled Congress to do the right thing, even when student's lives are on the line. Therefore, we must turn to the states to pass laws to prevent gun violence in our communities.

The federal government can set standards and practices that apply to all states around gun safety. But states have the option of passing additional measures to protect their own residents from gun violence.  States have different laws that range from good to terrible. To advocate for gun safety in your state, you should:

  1. Learn what the gun laws are in your state

  2. Learn what types of provisions states can put in place to prevent gun violence. For example, states can and should:

    • ban assault weapons, high capacity magazines, and bump stocks

    • mandate universal background checks

    • place a minimum age of 21 on all gun purchases

    • implement waiting periods between a gun purchase and gun transfer

    • allow families to petition to petition a court to remove guns from individuals at risk of injuring themselves or others through extreme risk protective orders (ERPOs)

    • eliminate “shoot first laws” like the one that that resulted in the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer.

    • prohibit the transfer of military grade weaponry to police departments

  3. Work with gun reform advocacy groups to advocate for legislation in your own state. Different states are already working to take action in the wake of Congress’ inaction. Here’s a recent NYT article that lists what states are considering doing or have already done to address gun violence.

It’s time for your elected officials to hear from you. You can make a difference, whether it’s on a national level or in your local community. The important thing to keep in mind is to show up, speak out and make your voice heard! Let them know that you expect change, and that you’ll remember their inaction once it’s your turn to vote in November.