While talk of gun-related legislation after a mass shooting is often met with cynicism and skepticism, mostly due to the opposition of conservatives, there are some efforts afoot that are gaining bipartisan support.
Gun control laws are not the only issues under consideration. The Parkland, Florida, school shooting pointed to problems within the FBI at processing information related to potential shooters. Others have raised cultural issues, such as fatherlessness, bullying in schools, and the fetishization of guns in gun magazines, music videos, movies and video games. And President Donald Trump, among others, mentioned mental health as an issue to address. Nonetheless, gun control has been central to our national conversations on what should be done about mass shootings.
An assault weapons ban is the gun control measure most people know about, because it is most talked about and Congress already passed it once before. But another assault weapons ban is unlikely to get conservative support. They argue it wouldn't reduce the number or lethality of mass shootings; therefore, it is unnecessarily restrictive of gun ownership.
But there are some proposals that can gain conservative support. Here are five of them:
1. Minimum Age for Rifle Purchases
Under current federal law, one must be at least 21 to own a handgun, but to own a rifle or shotgun, the age requirement is 18. Since many of these school shooters have been teens, one suggestion is to raise the age requirement for long guns to match that of handguns.
This proposal is currently under review in the Florida legislature, along with expanding the three-day waiting requirement for handguns to all guns.
Conservative NYT columnist Ross Douthat proposed even more restrictive age requirements.
"Let 18-year-olds own hunting rifles. Make revolvers available at 21. Semiautomatic pistols, at 25. And semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15 could be sold to 30-year-olds but no one younger," he wrote in a Saturday op-ed.
2. Background Check Improvements
In Congress, the "Fix NICS Act" aims to update and improve the background check system so that individuals who shouldn't be allowed to own a firearm can't legally buy one. The bill has bipartisan support and was crafted by a Republican, Texas Sen. John Cornyn, and a Democrat, Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy.
President Donald Trump spoke with Cornyn Monday about the bill.
"While discussions are ongoing and revisions are being considered, the president is supportive of efforts to improve the federal background check system," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.
The Republican-controlled U.S. House already passed a gun bill last December that contained Fix NICS provisions.
In a Sunday interview on NBC's "Meet the Press," Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford explained why he supports the bill.
"We're not getting information from some rural departments. We're not getting it from some federal entities. We're not getting the information into that background [check] system. So that absolutely needs to be fixed. That's why I think that [Fix NICS] legislation needs to be pushed," he said.
3. Armed Security in Schools
The number of schools with specialized armed police officers, known as school resource officers, has risen dramatically in recent years, due in part to a federal funding program known as Cops in Schools.
According to a U.S. Department of Education report for the 2015-2016 school year, 42 percent of all public schools have a full-time or part-time SRO, 10.9 percent have regular police officers, and 19.8 percent have security guards. Larger schools were much more likely to have armed police. Seventy-seven percent of schools with an enrollment of 1,000 or more had an SRO.
One measure being discussed or implemented at the state and local level is to increase the number of police, armed security and SROs in schools. East Brunswick School District in New Jersey decided Thursday, after the Parkland shooting, it would have armed police in every one of its schools through the entire school day.
4. Gun-Violence Restraining Orders
When troubled individuals show a propensity to harm themselves or others, a Gun-Violence Restraining Order allow people close to them, mostly family members, to get a court order temporarily preventing them from purchasing a gun. California passed GVRO legislation, also known as "red flag laws," in 2014 and it's under consideration in about a dozen more states.
On Friday, conservative National Review columnist David French argued in favor of such a law for the rest of the nation. In "A Gun-Control Measure Conservatives Should Consider," French wrote, "Advocates for GVROs have been mostly clustered on the left, but there is nothing inherently leftist about the concept. After all, the GVRO is consistent with and recognizes both the inherent right of self-defense and the inherent right of due process. It is not collective punishment. It is precisely targeted."
In a Sunday interview, Florida Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio also voiced his support for GVRO legislation. A GVRO, he said, "is an example of a state law, that in this [Parkland shooting] case, if it had been used could have prevented this." Rubio also shared French's article along with a message of support on Twitter Sunday.
5. Bump Stock Ban
Though not related to the Parkland shooting, the Oct. 1, 2017, Las Vegas shooter, Stephen Paddock, used a legal device known as a "bump stock" to make his semi-automatic rifle perform like an automatic rifle. Efforts have been underway at the federal, state and local levels to ban these devices as a result.
The devices, already illegal in California, have been banned in New Jersey, Denver and Columbia, South Carolina. Fifteen other states are considering bans.
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., voiced his support for a federal bump stock ban Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation."
"I am fine with doing away with any instrumentality that converts a semi-automatic to a fully automatic," he said, while also noting that congressional action is unnecessary because the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives "could regulate bump stocks tomorrow."