As 2013 concludes, both sides of the gun control debate are reviewing the events of the past year and preparing for 2014. Since the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut last December, gun control advocates have been pushing for stricter firearm laws and new restrictions. So far eight states have passed significant gun control laws, including New York, Colorado, Delaware, Connecticut, New Jersey, Illinois, California, and Maryland. Numerous other states have eased restrictions for gun owners, and perhaps most notably, Illinois finally joined the rest of the nation in allowing concealed carry with recent legislation.
The largest battle, however, was for federal gun control laws, which were supported by both President Barrack Obama and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). With no new federal laws approved and the monumental Manchin-Toomey Senate bill shot down earlier this year, some are calling 2013 a defeat for gun control supporters.
“We get disappointed,” Mark Kelly, co-founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions, remarked to Fox News. Kelly’s wife, former congresswoman and Gabrielle Giffords, was at the forefront of the call for greater gun control. Kelly said that the failure of the Manchin-Toomey bill and other federal efforts was a dissapointment, but they are not giving up yet.
Instead, Kelly’s group intends on spending an additional $25 million in the next election cycle. Other groups are also promising a major push for next year and experts expect the issue to have a significant impact come election time.
“Listening to the more than one million Brady supporters and the overwhelming will of the American people, states have clearly led where Congress has failed, and passed gun measures that will save lives, ” Dan Gross, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said in a recent press release. ”…but to make this the truly safer nation we all want, we need the same laws on a federal level. It’s time Congress follow the states’ initiative and finish the job to extend Brady background checks to all gun sales, including gun show and sales on the Internet.”
Political experts say that the momentum that gun control groups gained in the early months of this year is not likely to disappear in 2014.
“There’s far more grass-roots energy to strengthen gun laws than there was before,” Daniel Webster, director of the Center for Gun Policy and Research at John Hopkins University, told NPR. “You have the development of organizations like Moms Demand Action, the Sandy Hook Promise. You had the organization Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly formed, Americans for Responsible Solutions. All of that happened this past year. There’s also been a lot of activism by faith-based groups. And I don’t think those people are going to go away.”
President Obama also hinted that he was disappointed by the lack of any major reform when he marked the anniversary of the Newtown shooting last week.
“We haven’t yet done enough to make our communities and our country safer,” Obama said. “We have to do more to keep dangerous people from getting their hands on a gun so easily. We have to do more to heal troubled minds.”
You can watch his full address in the video below:
Others however, believe that the push for greater gun control has ground to a halt and is unlikely to continue next year.
“I think we’ve probably seen a crest tide of gun measures in 2013,” said Robert Spitzer, the author of The Politics of Gun Control. “There are likely to be far fewer measures in 2014, partly because in states like New York and Colorado and Connecticut, they’ve done what they wanted to do. Secondly, I think both Republicans and Democrats, by and large, would rather the gun issue would go away, especially in 2014.”