What to Know Today
The state of the states. The Illinois House passed a statewide ban on assault weapons, sending it to Governor J.B. Pritzker’s desk on the last day of the legislative session; Pritzker signed the bill into law hours later. A federal judge temporarily blocked parts of New Jersey’s new gun law, the New Jersey Monitor reports, suspending the state’s bans on guns in some “sensitive places,” on private property without the property owner’s consent, and in vehicles. A narrowly passed ballot measure in Oregon faces five lawsuits; a judge has ruled that none of the measure’s gun restrictions can take effect until a trial determines their constitutionality. And as the Virginia legislature convenes for a new session, gun laws appear to be a ripe field for partisan clashes.
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Following the fatal shooting of a high schooler, Baltimore City Council proposes raising fines for curfew violations. Baltimore prohibits kids under 16 from being in public places without adult supervision between 7:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. on school days. Parents and businesses can be fined up to $500 for violating the curfew — but after a teenager was killed and four others were injured in a mass shooting outside a Popeyes last week, The Baltimore Banner reports, the City Council will consider upping penalties. On curfews: After Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot expanded the citywide curfew in response to a shooting, teenagers spoke to The Trace’s Justin Agrelo about the city’s gun violence crisis and their relationship to safety.
“It can definitely get worse”: Gun reformers not optimistic about Texas legislative session. In November, state Senator Roland Gutierrez, a Democrat who represents Uvalde, filed a bill to raise the minimum wage to purchase an assault weapon to 21 — a policy supported by most Texans and a majority of Texas Republicans, as well as the primary demand of the families of Robb Elementary School victims. But the measure’s prospects were grim even before the GOP-dominated Legislature convened yesterday, the Texas Observer reports, and advocates worry lawmakers will kill any gun safety legislation and instead leave Texas with even weaker gun restrictions.
Federal gun reform law prevents dozens of young people from buying guns, lawmakers say. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act included a provision requiring juvenile records be included in background checks for gun buyers under the age of 21. Senators who pushed for the law told The Wall Street Journal that the measure has kept at least 27 18- to 21-year-olds from purchasing guns since the measure took effect in June.
Two guns stolen from incoming lawmaker’s truck outside Colorado Capitol. State Representative Ron Weinberg, a Republican who was sworn in Monday, said the handguns were unloaded and secured with trigger locks when they were stolen last week. The Democratic House speaker used the incident to push for stronger gun laws, The Colorado Sun reports: “This is exactly why we have pursued legislation to promote responsible gun ownership.” How many guns are stolen each year? Theft from individual gun owners is not easy to calculate, The Trace’s Jennifer Mascia reports. But the best estimates, based on FBI data and gun owner surveys, come out to more than 300,000 per year.
73 percent — the proportion of Texans who said they support raising the minimum age to buy any gun to 21 nationwide. [Quinnipiac University]