Since January 1, states have passed more than 100 new laws dealing with guns — about two-thirds of which loosen restrictions, thanks largely to new laws in Republican states. It was not the year that gun control advocates hoped to see in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary.
The New York Times has an intricate graphic detailing how various laws passed (or were rejected) in each state. The graphic can be quickly summarized by the two maps below, showing the number of new laws that loosen versus restrict gun ownership and access.
New laws loosening gun regulations
New laws tightening gun regulations
You have probably noticed a pattern: more conservative states rolled back restrictions, more liberal ones tightened them. In fact, the Times' graphic suggests that 92 percent of the laws loosening regulations were passed in states that voted for Romney in 2012. Of new control laws, 83 percent were passed in states that went for Obama.
Laws loosening regulations
Laws tightening regulations
The partisan split is also why there were no new gun laws at the federal level. When the Senate took up the issue in April, a minority of Republican Senators blocked a package of reforms. The House never took the issue up.
Control advocates hoped that the Newtown massacre would spur broad public outcry, demanding reform. As the Huffington Post pointed out, public attention over the year largely tracked with the federal debate. Using Google Trends to track interest, they note that search interest peaked in January — as President Obama focused on the issue — and again around the time of the Senate vote. After that, interest tapered off.
As Fox News notes, the White House has taken credit for executive measures aimed at curtailing gun violence. But also that any federal legislation aimed at reform, including the Senate package that was tabled in April, is even less likely in a political environment in which Obama is weaker than a year ago.