Following the shooting deaths of 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary, polls show most Americans now favor tougher gun laws.
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.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said May 26, 2014, that federal legislation proposed after the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, but rejected by Congress, could have helped to prevent the May 24 killing spree in Isla Vista, California. Blumenthal said he planned to revisit the measures.
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.
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.
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