While I've been knee deep in endorsements over the last couple of days (with as many as fourteen more in the queue from just Ohio, Indiana and Alabama), at it's core, LEAP Forward was started to provide an alternative to the NRA's legislative ratings and to grade lawmakers on their support of gun regulation. Most of my work still revolves around tracking bills and scoring lawmaker actions so that I can feel comfortable promoting legislators that promote gun safety and opponents for those who do not.
An unfortunate part of that work is poring over the Google Alerts and notifications I get from the NRA-ILA, the National Rifle Associations's legislative arm - responsible for making sure their supporters and politicians know which legislation they need to support or oppose. Obviously, I score actions on that legislation differently, but I will begrudgingly admit that if nothing else, the ILA is thorough. Rarely does a firearms-related piece of legislation escape their notice.
As is usually the case, notifications have dried up in the days since the Parkland shooting. No ILA calls to action, no tweets from @NRA. But tonight, the machine whirred back to life as the pro-gun lobby marshaled their forces - all in the name of putting a halt to taking guns out of the hands of harassers and keeping bump stocks legal by whipping against gun sense legislation in Washington State.
The first bill in question is SB 6298, legislation with 24 Democratic co-sponsors that would add "domestic violence harassment to the list of offenses for which a person is prohibited from possessing a firearm." It passed the Senate on February 9 in bipartisan fashion, 34-13, and is scheduled to be heard by the House Judiciary Committee on February 21.
The other is SB 5992, which began life as a ban on "trigger modification devices" but was amended and passed as a more straightforward ban on bump stocks. It boasts a bipartisan group of sponsors and passed the Senate 29-20.
LEAP Forward will be grading all House votes on this legislation and urge support. The NRA and it's powerful allies will not stop advancing their agenda until we make them, and statehouses across the country are where our focus needs to be. For my part, I'll make sure that LEAP Forward continues to provide legislative updates so that we know what they're up to and where we need to meet them.