Aurora Batman shooting: Gun controls still a no-go area for public and politicians
THE latest mass shooting in the US is seen as unlikely to lead to greater gun control because of its unpopularity with the public and politicians.
Neither President Barack Obama nor his Republican challenger Mitt Romney raised the issue when speaking after the Colorado massacre.
Commentators said gun control advocates have largely lost the argument against the much more powerful gun lobby, and politicians know the issue is toxic with voters.
Most Americans do not believe tougher gun laws would be the solution. Gallup polls over the last two decades show the percentage of Americans who favour making gun control laws “more strict” fell from 78 per cent in 1990 to 44 per cent in two years ago.
The Brady Centre to Prevent Gun Violence, the largest and oldest of America’s gun control groups, is a fraction of its peak size. The centre, and an affiliated political arm, had revenue of $5.9 million in 2010, the most recent year for which information is publicly available, which is down by 27 per cent in three years.
In the same year, the powerful pro-gun lobby the National Rifle Association (NRA) and its various components took in $253m from individuals, gun- makers and sellers and other supporters.
Democrats in conservative and rural states fear alienating gun owners and the NRA, and crucial presidential battleground states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Virginia, Iowa and North Carolina have large populations of enthusiastic gun owners.
Kristin Goss, of Duke University, author of Disarmed: The Missing Movement for Gun Control in America, said: “We’re in the summer before a presidential election and I really don’t foresee any serious discussion of gun control.”
Larry Pratt, executive director of lobby group Gun Owners of America, said yesterday the Colorado shootings provided an opportunity to “loosen up gun laws”.
He said: “It is very sad there was a no-guns policy in that theatre and that nobody had thought to take a gun with them anyway.
“At a church in the same city four months ago, something somewhat similar occurred but with a very different outcome. A dirtbag ran his car into another car in a church parking lot and stormed out of his car, killed a woman, and people were leaving the church at that time.
“So as soon as he did that, somebody that had a concealed firearm drew down and killed the attacker, and his slaughter was put to rest immediately.
“So a clear take-away message from what happened is ‘don’t go into gun-free zones unless you are willing to break the law’.”
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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