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Illinois becomes 6th state to advance tougher gun laws since Parkland


States like Illinois are not letting the intransigence of congressional Republicans stop them from acting on gun safety.

In the aftermath of the Parkland school shooting, Congress continues to stall on gun control. But several states are taking action. And on Wednesday, Illinois became the sixth state to push ahead in the fight for gun safety.

With bipartisan support, the Illinois state legislature passed bills to ban “bump stocks” and to raise the age for purchasing military-style rifles to 21. And lawmakers are also debating bills to license gun dealers and confiscate guns from people with mental health protective orders.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, perhaps impelled by polls showing him down double digits for re-election, has indicated he’s open to signing the bills.

The passage of these bills follows soon after the Oregon legislature approved a ban on weapons ownership for anyone with a restraining order or domestic violence conviction.

This bill, passed the day after the Parkland shooting, also enjoyed bipartisan support, and Democratic Gov. Kate Brown is expected to sign it. And this comes despite the NRA’s fierce opposition. As one Republican lawmaker who voted in favor put it, the NRA’s hounding made him want to “crawl under my desk in the fetal position.”

More recently, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island have come together to form an anti-gun violence compact. The four states will share databases of persons barred from owning guns, coordinate information on gun trafficking, and fund regional gun violence research. All of this will help ensure better law enforcement throughout the region.

Rhode Island’s governor, for good measure, also signed a new executive order directing state officials to adopt a “red flag” policy. This would confiscate guns from anyone who makes threats or is otherwise deemed a credible public safety risk.

And all of this could just be the beginning. Washington and Florida both have their own gun control proposals in the works.

It is increasingly obvious that the Parkland shooting, and the political response, represents the end of a bloody and cruel status quo. America is going to move forward on gun control — with or without congressional Republicans.