The new gun control bill that is going through a tortuous process in the senate doesn’t have the votes to pass a new assault weapons ban or a limit on magazines. The battle rests with expanded background checks, which wouldn’t have stopped the Newtown tragedy. The president chastised us for forgetting about the victims, but not even the most powerful man in the free world could curb the tide of Americans’ affinity for their right to bear arms. Even with the Newtown wind at the backs of the anti-gun crowds, they still lost the battle.
Jack Nicas and Joe Palazzolo of the Wall Street Journal wrote yesterday that more states have passed laws strengthening gun rights, than those curbing them.
This year, five states have passed seven laws that strengthen gun restrictions, while 10 states have passed 17 laws that weaken them, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which tracks and promotes gun-control laws.
Gun-control advocates have scored some victories. In New York and Colorado, which was the site of a movie-theater shooting last July that left 12 dead, new laws require background checks for all firearm sales and limit the size of ammunition magazines. Early Thursday, Connecticut lawmakers approved legislation to expand the state’s ban on certain semiautomatic weapons and require background checks for all firearm sales, among other restrictions. Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, a Democrat, has said he would sign such a measure.
Also helping the pro-gun-rights cause is that Republicans control 30 governorships and have full control of most state legislatures, easing the path for gun-rights measures. Of the 15 legislatures that have passed pro-gun-rights bills on to the governor, 13 are controlled by Republicans.
Democrat-controlled legislatures have failed to pass gun limits in some states, like Washington and New Mexico, and have had to weaken gun-control bills in others, including Minnesota. The Washington bill, to require universal background checks, failed last month despite Democrats’ 55-to-43 advantage in the House and residents’ 79% approval for the bill, according to a state poll.
A CBS News poll taken in late March showed 47% of Americans supported stricter gun-control laws, down from a peak of 57% just after December’s Newtown shooting.
Gun-control advocates are now largely focusing on seven states where they say there is still chance for significant gun-control legislation: California, Oregon, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland and Illinois.
So, liberals’ only shot at curbing gun rights rests in some of the most corrupt and liberal states in the country. The failure of the Washington State bill also highlights the overall split within the Democratic Party over gun rights. A split that proved to be fatal when it came to pushing the president’s anti-gun agenda.