published Saturday, December 14th, 2013

A year after Newtown, still more ricochets

People attend a National Vigil for Victims of Gun Violence just prior to the first anniversary marking the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting at Washington National Cathedral in Washington in this Dec. 12, 2013, file photo.
People attend a National Vigil for Victims of Gun Violence just prior to the first anniversary marking the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting at Washington National Cathedral in Washington in this Dec. 12, 2013, file photo.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Even as news accounts reminded readers and viewers Friday that today will mark the one-year anniversary of the shooting massacre at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school, another school shooting was occurring in Colorado.

In Newtown last year, 20 first-graders and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary were killed when mentally disturbed Adam Lanza, 20, went into the school with 10, 30-round magazines for his semiautomatic Bushmaster .223 caliber model XM15 rifle and bullets for his two handguns. Lanza already had killed his mother at their home. After he shot his way into the school and killed 26 -- in less than five minutes, firing one bullet roughly every two seconds -- he killed himself.

At Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colo., on Friday, at least two people were injured and a third person, a male student who was the shooter, died of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot, according to early news reports.

Between those two events, nearly one year apart, at least 11,457 people have died because of gun violence -- and probably many more. That's just the number Slate, an online magazine, has matched and confirmed in a project to track and map gun deaths nationwide using Internet data and news reports.

But by extrapolating the most recent CDC estimates for yearly deaths by guns in the United States, it is likely that as of Thursday, Dec. 12, roughly 33,173 people have died from guns in the U.S. since the Newtown shootings, according to Slate.

Yet gun control -- which just after Newtown had a 90 percent public approval rating specifically for expanded background checks -- still failed in Congress this year. And at state levels, gun rights groups won more votes to loosen gun restrictions than gun control groups won to toughen them.

Of the 109 state laws passed this year, only 39 tightened gun restrictions and 70 loosened them, according to a New York Times analysis. Just six states -- most solidly Democratic -- enacted new gun control measures. Tennessee and Georgia were among states that loosened gun laws. Georgia voted to recognize concealed-carry permits from other states and made permit records confidential. Tennessee, too, made concealed-carry permit records confidential. In Alabama, gun rights won a small victory when state lawmakers voted to require sheriffs to approve or deny permit applications within 30 days and to explain any rejections.

But gun control advocates -- and the families of Newtown victims -- say the fight isn't over, and in fact it has picked up steam.

"The families of Newtown, with their courage and their leadership, have helped ignite a movement. They've opened the eyes and opened the hearts of Americans. It may take longer for Congress to get that message, but I assure you the American people do," Connecticut Rep. Elizabeth Esty told television reporters Friday.

Polls showed 58 percent supported some general gun control legislation in the weeks after Newtown. Now, support for general gun control has dropped back to about 52 percent, a more traditional level. Recent polls show 38 percent of those surveyed say gun laws should remain the same, and only 8 percent say laws should be less strict.

But Esty said the continuing effort to pass universal gun checks for purchasing firearms "will depend on the political courage or political cowardice of my (congressional) colleagues."

The NRA and other gun lobby organizations also have stepped up the push to loosen laws, and in Colorado, three state lawmakers resigned rather than face recall over their votes to toughen the law there. It will be interesting in coming days to see what impact the Friday Arapahoe High School shooting brings.

So far, sadly, all the shootings and all the public opinion polls have been outdone by the jingle of political contributions.

On the federal level, gun rights-related contributions -- much of which is funded by gun and ammunition makers -- outstripped gun control-related contributions by more than 10 to 1 from 1989 to 2012, according to the Sunlight Foundation. At the state level, gun rights contributions were 31 times that of gun control contributions. And in the past year, gun rights groups at both state and federal levels outspent gun control groups 12-to-1.

In Newtown this week the families of the victims asked Americans to remember their children and educators with "an act of kindness" today -- perhaps volunteering with a charity or with a cause in their communities.

"We hope that some small measure of good may be returned to the world," one mother said.

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nucanuck said...

The deep embrace of firearms by the American public reflects the unspoken acceptance of conflict resolution from the barrel of a gun. Steadily increasing death rates from firearms result in higher gun and ammo sales. The US has become acclimated to gun violence as a "normal" occurrence.

The upward trend in gun violence seems certain to continue to grow. Get used to it.

December 14, 2013 at 2:38 a.m.
flyfishooltewah said...

The Times shows again the desire to be the "TigerBeat of the Tennessee"

"The NRA and other gun lobby organizations also have stepped up the push to loosen laws, and in Colorado, three state lawmakers resigned rather than face recall over their votes to toughen the law there."
Two were recalled, one resigned and passed the power back to the Democratic party by resigning rather than face the voters. I wonder if the Times has heard of Google.

"..which just after Newtown had a 90 percent public approval rating specifically for expanded background checks." This number is from a dubious Washington Post poll. but if Corker really believed that poll do you think he would have voted no on Manchin-Toomey? Nevermind.

"Now, support for general gun control has dropped back to about 52 percent, a more traditional level."

The latest ones I have seen have been under 50%, what's a few points though. With that said, you just make a great argument to not write laws that impact up to "90%" of the American people during a 'crisis' or through your heart. You recall that Patriot Act.

Sandy Hook was tragic and everyone with a heart feels anger and grief about the acts committed by a madman. This article is not mentioning the mental health issues, complete irresponsibility of the Mother, or the fact that the Federal government is committing less than $100 million to mental health but spent 6-7 months of 2013 demonizing gun owners.

December 14, 2013 at 7:23 a.m.
nucanuck said...

ffo, demonizing gun owners becomes a non-issue when virtually everyone owns a gun. Then the issue becomes how to stop the violence when so many people have issues. The answer, of course, is easy...YOU CAN'T!!!

If only responsible people owned firearms, maybe gun deaths would be a tolerable number, but with near universal gun ownership on it's way, the results can only be catastrophic.

Living in a society without guns should be an aspiration for all humans. In the meantime, sit back and accept the carnage.

December 14, 2013 at 1:02 p.m.
conservative said...

"Living in a society without guns should be an aspiration for all humans. In the meantime, sit back and accept the carnage."

much better:

Living in a society without Liberals should be an aspiration for all humans. In the meantime, sit back and accept the carnage.

December 14, 2013 at 1:39 p.m.
Hunter_Bluff said...

Living in a world without smug types selectively quoting their God's scripture or trying to run other's lives with their interpretation of their God's writing is an aspiration for us all.

December 15, 2013 at 5:55 p.m.
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