After last year’s Newtown, Ct., school massacre, the greatest successes of gun control supporters came with new laws in a handful of Democratic-led states, including Maryland and New York, as well as in politically mixed Colorado. More than two dozen states, most controlled by Republicans, moved in the opposite direction, expanding the rights of gun owners, and two gun control supporters in Colorado were ousted from legislative seats in a recall election. Now both sides in the gun debate are raising money, developing new strategies and turning their focus to potential battles in at least half a dozen states. “What happened in Colorado was a very powerful reminder to elected officials that voters still count,” said Andrew Arulanandam of the National Rifle Association. Mark Glaze of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the group founded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, said the recall election, with its low turnout, was not a true test of what Colorado voters wanted and that his group was moving forward.
Glaze pointed to states like Minnesota, New Mexico and Oregon as places for potential campaigns to pass bills requiring background checks for private gun sales or other firearms legislation. Gun bills in those states came close to passing this year. Tom Diaz, the author of “The Last Gun” and a longtime advocate of stricter gun laws, believes the depth of passion among gun owners had often been underestimated by “an elitist movement with good intentions.” Ultimately, he said, stronger gun laws will come not from Washington or New York but from ordinary people who decide it is time to make changes.