Who won the battle over gun control in 2013?
Well, if one asks The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence or the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, it’s pretty evident that they believe they’re the victors despite the fact that gun control stalled at the federal level and two Colorado state senators lost their jobs in recall elections, and another one resigned, for supporting tougher gun laws.
“There’s been disproportionate attention paid to the Colorado recall, where the corporate gun lobby was able to create the perfect circumstances for a handful of extremists to carry the day,” Dan Gross, the president of the Brady Campaign, said on a Monday conference call with Emily Miller from the Washington Times and other journalists and reporters.
“We really won this year. We beat them and they are desperate to cast the story the other way but that’s not the story that actually happened.” said Gross, adding, “The law that was actually passed — and by the way is still on the books — is going to make Colorado safer.”
In March, Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper signed two bills into law, one placed a ban on magazines that hold more than 15 rounds of ammo and the other requires background checks for private transfers, including those made over the Internet and at gun shows.
They were the legislature’s response to the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012 and the movie-theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, in July 2012.
Senate President John Morse (D-Colorado Springs) and Sen. Angela Giron (D-Pueblo) strongly endorsed those laws. Consequently, several gun rights activists got together and started a grassroots recall effort targeting Morse and Giron, arguably the senate’s most vulnerable lawmakers due to their relatively pro-gun districts.
In September, both Morse and Giron conceded defeat in following the recall vote. And late last month state Sen. Evie Hudak (D-Arvada and Westminster), who was the pro-gun group’s next target, resigned facing an inevitable loss were the recall election to take place.
Nevertheless, it appears the jobs of these three lawmakers do not matter much in the grand scheme of things, that their ousting was really just a short-lived victory that was over-hyped by the National Rifle Association.
The NRA was “able to create this unfortunately little anomaly in Colorado” but that “they lost in Colorado, and they are losing all over the country, and they don’t want that to be the story,” said Robyn Thomas, the executive director of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
In total, eight states passed tougher gun laws in 2013, among the ones to do major overhauls, include: New York, Connecticut, Maryland, California and, as mentioned, Colorado.
Also, pro-gun control Gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe won in Virginia, which augurs well for those seeking to limit gun ownership. McAuliffe openly supported “mainstream” gun control measures like “universal background checks, limiting the size of magazines, and a return to the one-gun-per-month rule.”
“In terms of electoral politics, let’s look at the governor election in Virginia and McAuliffe. He ran on this issue in the home state of the corporate gun lobby and won proudly,” said Gross referencing the NRA headquarters in Fairfax. “That is a far greater testimony to the sustained will of the American public than two small districts [in Colorado].”
Perhaps the best way to view the battle over gun control is not in terms of winners and losers because, at the end of the day, it’s a never-ending war. And given the fact that the political landscape is always changing with lawmakers coming and going — not to mention the constant flow of lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of certain gun laws — last year’s winners can be this year’s losers. Therefore, the only thing that is certain is that the fight will continue.