The debate around gun control in the United States reaches a fevered pitch

U.S. -

Following the shooting deaths of 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary, polls show most Americans now favor tougher gun laws.

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The president signed 23 executive orders on Jan. 16 aimed to strengthen existing laws, enhance mental health measures and boost federal funds for CDC research looking into the causes of violence. The president called on Congress to "restore a ban on military-style assault weapons, and a 10 round limit for magazines."

States have moved quickly to enact new gun laws following the Newtown, Conn., shootings, with some tightening and others loosening their controls. New York went first on Jan. 15, enacting some of the toughest gun laws. South Dakota, on the other hand, now allows teachers to carry guns in classrooms.

After Newtown, gun enthusiasts fearful of ammo restrictions were buying bullets so fast that stores -- and even some police -- were struggling to stay stocked. Gun advocates such as Alex Jones stoked rumors that the government is arming itself for war against citizens.

On August 9, a Starbucks in Newtown, CT, closed early after groups in support and against "open carry" gun regulations announced that they were going to meet at the coffee shop. In a statement, Starbucks said it closed the store, "out of respect for Newtown and everything the community has been through."

A week after the Newtown shootings, the NRA spoke out. "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," said CEO Wayne LaPierre, on Dec. 21. He chastised the news and entertainment industries and called for every U.S. school to be protected with armed guards. He also wants a database created of the nation's mentally ill. Copyright 2014 Reuters

A week after the Newtown shootings, the NRA spoke out. "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," said CEO Wayne LaPierre, on Dec. 21. He chastised the news and entertainment industries and called for every U.S. school to be protected with armed guards. He also wants a database created of the nation's mentally ill.

GOP senators said Apr. 2 that they would oppose Senate ratification of a UN arms treaty because it would require the U.S. to implement new gun control laws they say infringe the 2nd Amendment. Ratification is necessary for the U.S. to participate in the treaty; it requires a two-thirds Senate majority.

Bushmaster, the maker of the popular AR-15 assault rifle, has been under scrutiny since the shooting. Walmart pulled the gun from its online store and private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management announced it was selling the holding company which owns Bushmaster and other firearms manufacturers in spite of increased sales following the Sandy Hook shooting. Copyright 2014 Reuters

Bushmaster, the maker of the popular AR-15 assault rifle, has been under scrutiny since the shooting. Walmart pulled the gun from its online store and private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management announced it was selling the holding company which owns Bushmaster and other firearms manufacturers in spite of increased sales following the Sandy Hook shooting.

The New York City comptroller's office said May 8 that the pension fund for public workers had sold all of its $16.2 million investments in gun makers in light of "recent tragedies," including the Sandy Hook school shooting in December. The fund is worth $45.7 billion.

Two studies released May 7 show that gun violence in the U.S. has dropped sharply, although most people don't know it. Only 12% of Americans believe the gun-related crime rate is lower than in 1993, while 56% think it's higher, according to the Pew Research Center.

Gun dealers in states along the U.S.-Mexico border must report when customers buy more than one high-powered rifle at a time, a federal appeals court ruled May 31. The ruling stems from a 2011 federal regulation applying to California, Arizona, Texas and New Mexico.

Illinois has enacted a law that requires all citizens to report a lost or stolen gun to police within 72 hours, effective immediately. It also expands background checks to include private sales and transfers of ownership of firearms, even online.

The Obama administration announced two executive actions related to gun control in Aug. 2013, four months after gun control legislation failed in the Senate. The actions were added to the list of 23 steps the White House already determined it could take on its own in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre.

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