States take initiative in passing gun laws

States have taken the lead on gun control legislation

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The pressure on state and local lawmakers crafting laws is heaviest in Florida, where the Feb. 14 deadly mass shooting at a Parkland high school sparked a national conversation on gun policy reform.

Lawmakers in the Sunshine State face a ticking clock on voting proposed measures into law – the state legislature is only in session until March 9 and then it’s done for the year.

A staffer in the Florida statehouse told ABC News that negotiations are ongoing to reconcile the two bills — one of which is in the House, one of which is in the Senate — with the hopes of bringing the legislation to the floor of each chamber by the middle of next week.

It is highly likely the provision to arm teachers will be included in the final proposal. It is unknown if Scott, who said he opposes arming teachers, would sign legislation that includes that provision. He was in the statehouse Thursday morning to remind lawmakers he opposes it and he brought with him Ryan Petty, the father of Parkland victim Alaina Petty, to help him lobby lawmakers.

Candidates for both Senate and the governor’s races have offered a variety of proposals on school safety. But no consensus has emerged. The state has a late primary – August 28 – so don’t be surprised if this issue comes up in candidate debates as the date approaches.

States are considering a variety of proposals, which reflect the political bend of the people in their constituency.

Washington state legislature passed legislation to ban the sale of bump stocks this week. Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, who is said to be considering a 2020 bid and confronted Trump about arming teachers during a White House meeting with governors, is expected to sign it.

Daniel Webster, the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy & Research, said there are opportunities for states to pass laws in specific areas of gun restrictions, particularly in those “red flag” policy areas. He told ABC News that is “fairly popular” to pass state laws that “are tailored in a manner to really identify or have a process to identify someone who is violent, dangerous or represents an immediate threat.”

Additionally, there is already a cross section of restrictions across the country, differing from state to state. And what is illegal in one state could be legal in its neighbor.

Different states, for example, have different ages to purchase a gun. In Vermont you can purchase a rifle at 16. But in most other states you have to be at least 18, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Several states are considering laws that would raise the gun purchase age to 21, including Florida, California, Illinois, and Washington state.

But other states, particularly those in the West and Midwest, have a long tradition of hunting and gun ownership.

Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead told ABC News his state would not support raising the purchase age to 21.