Three states have taken measurable steps this week to regulate the firearm industry in their states—an effort to curb gun violence in the United States. The three states—Washington, Colorado and soon Maryland—all have governments controlled by Democrats and consequently have more flexibility to shape firearm policies in their states.

In Washington, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) and the legislature have completed a three-part package of gun reforms. Perhaps most consequentially, the package bans 61 different rifles and pistols that are classified as “assault weapons,” including the AR-15. Washington is the ninth state to ban “AR-15-style” weapons that are commonly used in mass shootings.

The other measures mandate training for new gun owners and reaffirm the legal responsibility of the firearm industry to vet to whom their weapons are sold.

Conservative backlash has been strong, with many right-wing politicians and media personalities calling it an infringement on the second amendment.


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The White House has praised Inslee and Washington’s legislature for passing what the administration believes is bold reform.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) also took major steps intended to curb gun violence, signing four bills on Friday sent to his desk from the state’s legislature.

One of these bills increases the minimum age to buy a firearm from 18 to 21, the same age required in Colorado to purchase alcohol or recreational marijuana. Exceptions to the new age minimum include military members, law enforcement and licensed hunters. Colorado is the seventh state to take this step, after California, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, New York and Rhode Island.

Another bill requires a three-day waiting period to purchase a firearm to allow for background checks and prevent impulsive decisions that lead to shootings. “Red-flag” laws were strengthened in a third bill, allowing teachers and health providers to request the confiscation of firearms from members of society deemed a danger to themselves or others.

Like in Washington, Colorado also reaffirmed the liability of the weapons industry by weakening civil protections for gun manufacturers and dealers in the event of a mass killing conducted with their weapons.

The state government has already been sued over the bills.

In Maryland, the state legislature has passed several gun measures including a ban on carrying weapons in areas for “children or vulnerable individuals” as well as “special purpose” areas which include businesses that serve alcohol.

It will also be illegal in Maryland to enter private land while armed without permission from the property’s owner.

Maryland’s governor stated that he will sign the bills in the coming days.

While state governments controlled by Democrats have the flexibility to pass bold gun legislation, Congress remains split with a Republican-controlled House of Representatives and a Democratic-controlled Senate and the executive branch.

Senate Democrats are also far short of a 60-vote filibuster-proof majority.

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