Daily Meme: America's Ever-Complicated Affair with Guns

  • Saturday will be the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut that left 20 small children dead. 
  • Gun policy in the United States has changed markedly in that year, with 109 new state laws being passed. Seventy of those laws loosen pre-existing gun regulations. 
  • Gun-rights groups spent seven times more money lobbying legislatures than gun-control groups did.
  • The company that makes the assault rifle Adam Lanza used "raked in $94 million in profits on more than $1 billion in gun and ammo sales," from January to this September, "compared with just $500,000 in net profits during the same period in 2012."
  • Public support for stronger gun laws may be beginning to dissipate.
  • This week, the Senate extended a ban on undetectable firearms, but declined to fix any of the decade-old law's loopholes. 
  • Earlier attempts to strengthen federal gun legislation this year, like passing an assault-weapons ban, also failed.
  • Gun-control supporters have made some gains. "In the past year, eight U.S. states—mostly blue ones in New England and the coastal West, but also “purple” Colorado—approved gun control legislation. In New York and Connecticut, they weren’t merely symbolic changes, either, but rather bans on certain kinds of magazines and guns."
  • Those blue states also happen to be among our most populous The laws strengthening gun regulations affect more than 189 million people. The laws loosening regulations affect about 185 million. 
  • Overall, our country's relationship to firearms seems mostly unchanged. Those who love guns continue to love them, and those who fear them continue to fear them. We might change someday, but Newtown wasn't the event to break decades of ideological deadlock. 
  • In Newtown, however, the debate over guns is far less abstract. "The normal of the past is gone, but the new normal is not all bad," says Pat Llodra, the town's top elected official. "It is different."
  • The parents of one of the slain children told the Boston Globe, “You still think about the events of that day every day. But the healing happens. The shock dissipates. At the end of the day, we feel like she’s still our daughter, and we’re still her family.”
  • And, they're ready for the nation's interest to fade away. The town has decided against a public event to remember the shooting this year. 
  • As Eli Saslow summed up in a story in June, some residents feel like the grief would only deepen when the national attention disappeared. "After the gunfire, the funerals, the NRA protests and the congressional debates, they were finally coming into the lonely quiet. They were coming to the truth of what Newtown would become."


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