Despite Shootings, Gun Control Failed in Most States this Year

The Parkland shooting was not a national game-changer that gun-control advocates had hoped it would be.

An Associated Press review of all firearms-related legislation passed this year, encompassing the first full state legislative sessions since the Las Vegas attack, shows a decidedly mixed record. Gun control bills did pass in a number of states, but the year was not the national game-changer that gun-control advocates had hoped it could be.

Even in a year that included yet another mass school shooting and an unprecedented level of gun-control activism, state legislatures across the country fell back to largely predictable and partisan patterns.

“It’s exactly what happened after Newtown: The anti-gun states became more anti-gun and the pro-gun states became more pro-gun,” said Michael Hammond, the legislative counsel for Gun Owners of America, referring to the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut that killed 20 children and six educators….

One policy change many thought would be non-controversial turned out to be a harder sell: banning bump stocks.

Lobbying by gun rights activists succeeded in blocking many states from enacting proposed bans, which they had feared would quickly spread nationwide after the Las Vegas shooting. Congress hasn’t acted on them, either.

Hammond, the lawyer for Gun Owners of America, said that after early defeats his group also is beginning to succeed in thwarting red flag bills. He argues that they can allow authorities to unfairly seize guns from owners who are not dangerous.

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In Texas, for example, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott had said the state should consider adopting some type of red flag bill. Supporters of the legislation were hoping for a breakthrough in the most populous of the GOP-dominated states, which has seen mass shootings at a high school and a church over the past year.

Instead, the Legislature’s Republican leaders have already declared Abbott’s idea dead, and the governor has backed away from it.

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