As the debate over gun control heats up in Washington, Democratic governors have decided to take the matter into their own hands.
Faced with a divided Congress, President Obama admitted at a press conference on Monday that some of his desired gun control reforms such as limiting the size of ammunition magazines, expanding the comprehensive background check system for gun buyers and banning some types of semi-automatic rifles may not pass.
“Will all of them get through this Congress? I don’t know,” the president said.
President Obama also sent out a call to action to lawmakers, urging them to step outside of politics. “If there is a step we can take that would save even one child from what happened in Newtown, we should take that step.”
But governors in Democratic states like Maryland, New York and Delaware aren’t waiting for the green light from Washington.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York is working on an agreement with lawmakers to ban ammunition magazines that carry more than seven bullets. Cuomo is also looking to further expand the state’s assault weapons ban, the AP reported Monday. The deal has not yet been reached. In addition, the governor is seeking to pass a bill that would extend background checks. All gun buyers, even if buying from a private seller, would have to undergo a background check.
According to the Washington Post, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is taking a different route, seeking to pass some of the toughest restrictions on guns in the country.
O’Malley plans to implement an assault weapons ban, tougher background checks for gun buyers which would include providing fingerprints to state police and a mandatory gun safety course.
Other governors seeking tougher laws are those of Connecticut, Delaware and Colorado. Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber said he would support gun control legislation if it passes.
On the other hand, Republicans are pushing to expand gun rights by allowing school employees to take weapons onto campuses.
Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst has recommended that teachers and administrators should be trained on how to use guns to stop an active shooter through a state-funded program. Texas Gov. Rick Perry agrees and thinks teachers should be able to be armed in class. (One district in the state already allows it.)
Other states such as Tennessee, Virginia and Florida are also leaning towards passing legislation that would allow teachers and other school staff to take concealed weapons into school buildings.