In the year since the Newtown school shootings, most new state gun laws have loosened rather than tightened restrictions.
After the horrific shootings at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., a year ago claiming the lives of 20 children and six adults, there was a sense in the country – especially among gun-control supporters -- that the tragedy would be different from similar ones in the past and push the nation to action. But ultimately, a sustained change in public opinion did not materialize, and a bill to tighten gun laws died in the Senate.
Supporters of gun-rights tend to feel more strongly about their position, and more willing to act on it politically, than backers of gun-control legislation.
There’s a pretty good chance that immigration legislation will become law this year. The prospects for enacting a gun control bill are not nearly as promising, according to the American public.
Nearly three-quarters of Americans say that if the Senate background checks bill is reintroduced, Congress should pass it. But even gun control advocates are pessimistic about the bill’s chances.
The key Senate vote that halted gun control legislation last week is drawing a mixed reaction from the American public: 47% express negative feelings about the vote while 39% have a positive reaction to the Senate’s rejection of gun control legislation that included background checks on gun purchases.
The public is paying far closer attention to news about the gun control debate than news about threats from North Korea or the debate over immigration policy.
After a series of fiscal crises over the past few years, the public is not expressing a particular sense of urgency over the pending March 1 sequester deadline.
The public is closely tracking the debate: 43% followed news about the proposals very closely and 29% followed fairly closely.
There are clear areas of agreement when it comes to a number of gun policy proposals like background checks for gun sales. But there are big partisan divides on others.