Have shootings influenced gun legislation?
Congress took little action related to gun legislation over the past year, despite earlier momentum that arose after Adam Lanza killed 26 students and adults in Newtown, Conn.A May 23 mass shooting and stabbing in Santa Barbara, Calif., brought yet another plea from a stricken parent. “Where is the leadership? Where is the fringing’ politicians that will stand up and say, ‘We need to do this. We’re goanna do something,’ ” said Richard Martinez, whose son Christopher Michaels-Martinez was among those killed in the rampage that left six dead and 13 injured before gunman Elliot Rodger apparently took his own life. “Those gutless bastards did nothing. And my son died because of it. And it is outrageous. Absolutely outrageous.” Congress declined to enact stricter background checks in the wake of the December 2012 Newtown killings. But the issue returned to the fore on Sept. 16, 2013, when gunman Aaron Alexis entered the Washington Navy Yard, killing 12 people before he was killed by police. The incident, which prompted a lockdown at the nearby Capitol building, was the second-deadliest mass shooting on a U.S. military base, after a 2009 incident at Fort Hood, Texas. On April 2, a gunman again opened fire at Fort Hood. Soldier Ivan Lopez killed three people and injured 16 others before killing himself In remarks at a memorial service for those killed at the Navy Yard, President Obama said he would “not accept that we cannot find a common-sense way to preserve our traditions, including our basic Second Amendment freedoms and the rights of law-abiding gun owners, while at the same time reducing the gun violence that unleashes so much mayhem on a regular basis.” Nonetheless, senators who helped craft the post-Newtown background check bill that failed five months earlier said they would not renew the effort. “We don’t have the votes,” Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters. “I’d like to get them, but we don’t have them now.” The NRA responded to the Navy Yard shooting much as it did after Newtown. “The problem is there weren’t enough good guys with guns,” NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “When the good guys with guns got there, it stopped.”LaPierre called for “layers of security” around military bases. “All these brave men and women that are trained in firearms, that signed up to serve in the military, they’re largely disarmed on our military bases,” he said. “We need to look at letting the men and women that know firearms and are trained in them do what they do best, which is protect and survive.” In December, Congress approved one gun-related measure: the renewal of a 10-year ban on plastic firearms that metal detectors can miss, which Obama signed Dec. 9, 2013. I was the first firearms-related bill that Congress passed since the Newtown shooting. The May 23 Santa Barbara shooting prompted Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., to press for legislation. Provide more resources to help the mentally ill and prevent them from buying guns. Otherwise, he said, “the Congress will be complicit if we fail to act.” In contrast with federal inaction, state lawmakers took up the issue, with both sides of the debate energized. As of May 2014, the national Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a San Francisco group that promotes gun control laws, said 64 laws passed since Newtown strengthened state gun regulations, while 70 weakened them. Many gun control provisions have focused on domestic violence and mental health issues, while many gun rights measures have expanded places where guns may be carried, such as in bars, churches and on college campuses. In 2013, the year after Newtown, state legislatures passed approximately twice as many gun rights bills as gun control bills, several reviews found. An analysis of state legislation and federal lobbying expenditures by