President Barack Obama is set to embark on a new, public push for new gun legislation, giving speeches in Colorado later on Wednesday and in Connecticut next week.
Both states that Obama will visit have been able to pass sweeping new gun laws, despite stalled momentum for gun control measures at the federal level.
Colorado — the site of a movie-theatre massacre last June — recently passed a series of bills that require background checks for all gun purchases and limit magazine capacity to 10 rounds. The Connecticut General Assembly is expected to pass legislation Wednesday that lawmakers have called the “toughest in the nation.”
According to excerpts of his speech released by the White House Wednesday, Obama will laud the progress Colorado has made on a state level. But he is also set to hail Colorado as a “model for what’s possible” — a nod to a need for action on a federal level.
10 states, in fact, have considered different legislative proposals since the elementary school tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. But many people believe that those laws will mean next to nothing unless similar measures are adopted on a national level.
“No single state can do this alone,” said U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who is leading the push for a national limit on magazine capacity. “No single state can protect its citizens from illegal trafficking or straw purchases, because our state borders are porous.
“Illegal trafficking has no respect for state borders. So, Connecticut is taking strong, courageous steps in preventing gun violence, but there have to be several measures against illegal trafficking and straw purchases — as well as school safety — on a national scale.”
States with stricter gun-control laws do have lower levels of gun violence, according to a report released Wednesday from the left-leaning centre for American Progress. But the effectiveness of those measures is limited by local boundaries; as Blumenthal said, there is little in the way of stopping a Connecticut resident from travelling to a state with looser restrictions.
In January, The New York Times looked at the effectiveness of local gun laws, particularly in crime-ridden Chicago. Despite the city’s strict gun-control laws, crime has surged in Chicago because of eased gun restrictions in neighbouring states — and even the surrounding suburbs. Since 2008, 1,300 illegal guns seized by police in Chicago have come from one store alone in Indiana.
“Chicago is like a house with two parents that may try to have good rules and do what they can, but it’s like you’ve got this single house sitting on a whole block where there’s anarchy,” Chicago Reverend Ira J. Acree told the Times.
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