Gun Control
August 6, 2015
Will recent shootings influence gun legislation?

High-profile shootings in four southern cities — Chattanooga, Tenn., Charleston, S.C., Chapel Hill, N.C. and Lafayette, La. — in recent months have prompted some lawmakers to call for stricter state and federal firearm controls. But while some states have introduced new requirements for background checks and restrictions on private gun sales, others, such as Kansas and Texas, have expanded access to guns and loosened restrictions for carrying concealed firearms. More than two years after the infamous Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 children and six adults dead, gun-rights advocates have blocked White House plans to introduce new restrictions on automatic rifle ammunition sales. And for the first time in two decades, a majority of the public has indicated support for protecting gun freedoms over restricting guns.

A temporary memorial honors the five service members killed in a mass shooting in Chattanooga, Tenn., on July 16. The alleged shooter, Mohammad Abdulazeez, 24, who police say opened fire at a military recruiting center and a Navy operations support center, was killed in a gunfight with police. (Getty Images/Rick Diamond)   A temporary memorial honors the five service members killed in a mass shooting in Chattanooga, Tenn., on July 16. The alleged shooter, Mohammad Abdulazeez, 24, who police say opened fire at a military recruiting center and a Navy operations support center, was killed in a gunfight with police. (Getty Images/Rick Diamond)

A June 17 mass shooting in a historic black church in Charleston, S.C., that left nine people dead, including a South Carolina state senator, has brought renewed cries from lawmakers to better control the availability of guns across the United States. “I personally believe there are far too many guns out there, and access to guns, it’s far too easy,” Democratic Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. said the day after the shooting, adding that the “easy ability for people to gain possession of [guns] no doubt contributes to violent acts.” 1

A month later, mass shootings shocked the residents of Chattanooga, Tenn., and Lafayette, La. But while the killings led some political leaders to call for new gun restrictions, by the end of July, 12 states had passed laws that loosen restrictions for background checks, gun ownership, concealed carrying of guns or firearm possession on school grounds. 2

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