Governors Weigh In on Gun Violence in State of State Speeches

Some state leaders aren’t waiting for Congress to address last year’s mass shootings in Newtown, Conn. and Aurora, Colo. So far five governors have alluded to gun violence in their annual state-of-the-state addresses.
by | January 15, 2013

Some state leaders aren’t waiting for Congress to address last year’s mass shootings in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo.

So far five governors have alluded to gun violence in their annual state-of-the-state addresses. The speeches typically serve as both a progress report on governors’ top policy issues, but also a preview of their agenda for the coming year.

“There are no easy solutions. Some point to guns, others to a violent culture. Still others believe that the line between community security and individual freedom must be re-drawn,” said Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

“While some evil acts can never be fully understood, we must do our best to prevent them,” said Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

Democratic governors Hickenlooper and Andrew Cuomo of New York both talked about universal background checks for all private sales of firearms. Cuomo also mentioned bans on the sale of ammunition over the Internet, assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Republicans McDonnell and Idaho Gov. Butch Otter focused on enhanced mental health services, not guns or their bullets.

The map below lists any policies related to gun violence mentioned in 2013 state-of-the-state addresses, with governors outlining proposals shaded in green. Governing staff will update the map as the remaining governors give their speeches.

Delaware's Democratic Gov. Jack Markell has yet to give his address, but already mentioned plans to launch initiatives around school safety, mental health services and gun control at a press conference for the National Governors Association Jan. 9.

Markell, who is also the chairman of the association, said that the nation’s governors would not take a unified position on gun violence because state leaders disagree on the solution.

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