After the California university rampage that left six students dead from gun or knife wounds, many parents and politicians found past federal responses to similar tragedies to be a culprit, says the Washington Post. “Have we learned nothing?” asked Richard Martinez, father of a victim. “These things are going to continue until somebody does something, so where the hell is the leadership?” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said on CBS’s Face the Nation. “Congress will be complicit if we fail to act.” In fact, arguments for loosening gun restrictions have proved far more successful. Since 13 people were killed at Colorado’s Columbine High School in 1999, Congress has passed one major law strengthening gun control after of a mass shooting, the 2007 statute improving the national background check system, adding more rigorous records for felons and mentally ill individuals to the federal database.
Even places where one might think gun legislation would meet success have quashed gun bills lately. In California last year, Gov. Jerry Brown signed 11 new pieces of gun legislation but vetoed seven, including one that would have made it harder for mentally ill individuals to obtain guns. In short, mass shootings have done little to alter Congress’ desire to change federal gun policies. On the state level, shootings have been more likely to inspire a step away from gun regulation lately. It seems unlikely that Congress will renew attempts to pass new background check legislation or new gun restrictions for mentally ill persons, especially this close to an election that could change leadership in the Senate.