Eight states took significant steps toward tougher gun control in lieu of congressional action this year, according to a study issued Monday by a pair of advocacy groups.
However, the state-by-state analysis released by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence gives failing grades to more than half the states, underscoring the difficult road ahead for proponents of stronger protections.
In the year following last December’s deadly shooting spree in Newtown, Conn., that state — along with California, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey and New York — enacted major reforms, the groups said.
In the face of opposition from the powerful gun lobby, 21 states took some form of action on gun control in 2013, said Robyn Thomas, executive director of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
The new regulations include mandatory background checks for all firearm sales, requirements that gun owners report lost or stolen firearms and bans on assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines.
The actions follow the defeat of a flurry of federal measures introduced in Congress following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School last December. Despite the failure of those measures, the groups maintain that 2013 was a watershed year in the push toward strengthened gun laws.
“Make no mistake, this is all part of a year of tremendous progress and momentum,” Brady Campaign President Dan Gross told reporters Monday. “Now its time for Congress to follow the states' lead and finish the job.”
The states were graded on their regulations in 30 different policy areas related to gun control. California topped the list, scoring an A- for strong gun laws on its books, while Connecticut moved into second place after enacting laws in the aftermath of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook.
Twenty-six states, meanwhile, were given failing grades, according to the report. Arizona, Alaska, Wyoming and South Dakota were ranked as having the weakest gun regulations.