By Natalie Roadarmel
Following the recent school shooting in Florida, gun control has been an issue wracking newspapers, television stations, and American minds. After what feels like countless shootings in recent years, it can often feel frustrating and disturbing that large gun control measures have not been passed on the federal level or in many states.
However, on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018, Oregon legislature passed a bill that prohibits individuals accused of stalking and domestic violence or under restraining orders from purchasing or owning firearms and ammunition. Although those with stalking or domestic violence convictions have been banned from purchasing or owning firearms since 2015, this bill closed a loophole in Oregon’s gun laws that allowed them to buy and own firearms legally as long as they were not married or living with the victim, and did not have children with them. The bill passed in the state Senate with a 16-13 vote, and in the House of Representatives 37-23. This is the first a state legislation has passed a gun-control law since the Florida high school shooting on Feb. 14.
Governor Kate Brown commended lawmakers for passing the bill, stating that it will aid in keeping guns from dangerous people. She also commented that the bipartisan support of the proposal reflected the desire of many Americans to create further restrictions on owning guns. Brown shared her disappointment that Oregon had not addressed this loophole sooner and that she believes, “it took the voices and outrage of youth devastated by gun violence to hold decision makers’ feet to the fire.”
Many other states are also taking action after what has been deemed one of the deadliest school shootings in modern American history. In Washington, a bill was proposed to raise the minimum age for purchasing a semiautomatic rifle or shotgun which includes “tactical features” to 21. This bill would also make the sale of these items subject to possible state and federal background checks, as well as begin a program to allow students to make reports of threats or prospective violent action to the attorney general’s office as well as require that the state to give money to school districts for emergency response systems. Multiple other states have also proposed gun control bills, such as Indiana and Ohio.
Federally, a small amount of action has been taken since the Florida shooting. President Trump vowed to ban bump stocks over Twitter, which are rifle accessories used to imitate automatic fire. However this has not been fully enacted yet as it would require the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to overturn a previously made ruling. Besides this, minimal support or action has been taken by the federal government to strengthen gun control. There is little republican support for this issue, even after recent shootings.
Although the federal government is not fighting for gun control, students around the country are. Walk-outs and marches have sprouted up across the country, and students from Parkland, Florida have started a gun-control movement. The most affected seem to be those who are standing up in this time of unjustified violence. To the surprise of many, students seem to be making a rally call for safety on school grounds, and so far, they have been heard.