New year brings new laws


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TIME FOR CHANGE. As the federal government takes no steps towards major reform, the states of our nation are pushing for new laws. In response to the tragic events of the past year, 2019 will be bringing new arm legislation in several U.S states such as California, Oregon, Illinois, and Washington. “I think that we need [to regulate] who is allowed to be in the possession of a firearm… that would be an ideal law,” said Kasey Lowe, 9.

2018 brought in a surge of gun activism. With the tragic mass shootings such as the shootings in Parkland, Santa Fe, Pittsburgh, and most recently, the Thousand Oakes massacre, advocates for gun reform spoke out, urging for reform.

However, despite these horrific events, the nation has not made any major advancements regarding stricter gun control.

But some states are finished. They are sick of sitting back and twiddling their thumbs, just waiting for the federal government to make change. That is why, starting in 2019, states like California, Washington, Illinois, and Oregon, are hopping into the driver seat, taking control for themselves.

California is the one state that is leading the charge. As of the new year, the Californian government has enforced over 100 new laws, several of which are regarding guns. This, as most people believe, is in response to the shooting that occurred in a California bar, which killed 12 innocent people.

This shooting was the second most deadly mass shooting in 2018, only after the infamous events that occurred in Parkland, Florida.

“As of January 1, the Golden State has raised the minimum age to buy rifles and shotguns from 18 to 21 (with exceptions for members of law enforcement, the military, or those who have a hunting license),” said Jason Silverstein, reporter for CBS News.

In addition, anyone who is convicted of domestic violence or has a history of mental health issues (as in they have been committed to an institution at least twice in one year) will have their ability to purchase arms revoked. Beginning July 1, ammunition dealers will have to check with the Justice Department before initiating a sale, ensuring that the customer is not one who is banned from purchase.

California has also issued a state-wide training program, stating that all citizens who wish to carry a concealed weapon must pass an eight-hour training regiment.

“I feel like some of the laws that are being created in California and Oregon and other states should definitely be created in Ohio. I know the federal government isn’t taking part in change, but our state should,” said Megan Radakovich, 9.

Washington is also ready for reform. The state has also raised the legal age for purchasing semi-automatic, or assault rifles. Now, individuals must be of 21 years or older, which is a step up from the mere 18 years age limit.

“Additionally, purchasers will be required to wait 10 days before they acquire the weapon and will have had to have completed a training course within the past five years. The law also implements stricter background checks,” said Brittany De Lea, reporter for Fox Business.

Illinois has also joined the charge, initiating the “Red Flag Bill.” Under this new addition, a family member or a police officer can take a firearm away from anyone who poses as a potential risk to themselves or others. They have also extended the waiting period after purchasing a rifle to 72 hours. It was previously 24.

Under previous laws, abusers in Oregon were banned from further arm purchasing if they had harmed their spouse with a gun. However, now, Oregon has expanded the law, encompassing all convicted stalkers, abusers, and other such dangerous people from owning or purchasing a gun.

This means that regardless of family life if someone is a convicted felon, no gun for them (in Oregon, at least).

Although the government has made very few steps regarding this pressing issue, it is good to see that the states will not allow for any more bloodshed. Hopefully, these new laws will spur a domino effect, leading our country into an era of revolution, innovation, and hopefully, reform.

“We should not be scared to roam our school hallways. Gun reform needs to happen now before these mass shootings become everyday news,” Radakovich said.