Gun Violence: Are Control Proponents Losing?

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Following the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012, gun control legislation became a topic of discussion once again. As many have pointed out, violent tragedies often lead to a predictable cycle of anti-gun sentiment, followed quickly by pro-gun responses that often win out. “Perverse as it may sound, the horrific mass shooting … at Sandy Hook Elementary produced a burst of state-level gun control bills around the country and then triggered a much stronger pro-gun backlash,” wrote Paul M. Barrett of Bloomberg, the author of GLOCK: The Rise of America’s Gun.

He goes on to list Georgia’s new guns everywhere law as part of the fallout, “egged on by the National Rifle Association,” in reaction to anti-gun legislation following the shooting. The NRA calls the bill “the most comprehensive pro-gun” bill seen in state history for some time, and says that it is “a historic victory for the Second Amendment,” according to The New York Times; meanwhile, the police chiefs association, churches, a majority of residents, and both the federal Transportation Security Administration and the restaurant association oppose the legislation. Laura Cutilletta, senior staff with San Francisco’s Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, told The New York Times that the bill is “so extreme and people do have such a strong reaction to it. I don’t think over all it’s a victory for [the lawmakers].”

California itself has seen a rather unfortunate and ironic turn when it comes to gun control, as well known anti-gun proponent, state senator Leland Yee, who was arrested for involvement in a gun trafficking operation involving a well known Chinatown gangster in San Francisco. The NRA is, unsurprisingly, using his example to draw attention to their own interests. Or as Bloomberg‘s Barret puts it — “gloating.”

Being good Americans, we take the position that anyone who is arrested and charged with multiple crimes is innocent until proven guilty,” said the NRA in a statement on its website. “That’s more than California state senator Leland Yee has done for gun owners in the past.”

Colorado is seeing a similar anti-gun push after pro-gun efforts. Following the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, a ban on magazines with more than 15 rounds was enacted, according to NPR, as well as efforts to increase the stringency of background checks during private gun sales. This led to a lawsuit from local sheriffs in rural areas who argue that the laws were reactionary and unreasonable. Sheriff John Cooke of Weld County was one such member of the group. “The problem is, who is the government to tell a citizen how many rounds they need to defend themselves?” Cooke asked in an interview with NPR. “Even if it tramples on people’s rights and it tramples on our heritage, we got to do something just to make it look like we’re doing something,” he said.

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