The mass, random shooting in Colorado Thursday night that has claimed 12 lives and injured more than 50 has opened the door for a discussion on gun control.
While the second amendment protects Americans’ rights to possess firearms, exactly how and what types can be procured, where, and who can purchase a gun typically varies by state. Gun control advocates, such as the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, believe the country’s laws are too lax in this arena.
Dan Gross, president at the Brady Campaign, said he doubted this incident would be enough to spark substantial reform.
“I don’t think there’s going to be any one moment that’s going to change the national dialogue. I think the national dialogue is going to change when the American people get involved and demand change,” he said during an appearance on MSNBC’s NOW with Alex Wagner Friday. “Otherwise it’s just going to be business as usual. The gun lobby is going to wield far too much power over our politicians.”
That fear of the gun lobby, as well as Americans who enjoy recreational firearms, has thwarted the will of politicians to push for more restrictive gun control measures, said Patricia Murphy, a guest on NOW who covers Congress for The Daily Beast.
“I think the Democratic Party has decided it’s not a fight they want to have. The NRA is so strong. There are so many moderate Democrats elected from states where the NRA is very popular, where guns are used recreationally—Utah, North Carolina, Virginia,” she said. “As somebody who covers Congress, gun control measures don’t move. Legislation is rarely introduced. It certainly rarely passes. Even when a member of Congress was shot at her own congressional event—nothing.”
Chris Hayes, host of MSNBC's Up with Chris Hayes (pictured above), also cited a lack of political will to address gun control.
"All evidence of previous mass shootings suggest they haven’t been inflection points," he said during NOW. "Since 2000, the Democratic Party at the national level has almost wholely retreated from the issue. They don’t talk about it; they don’t try to move legislation; they have decided it’s not an issue.
Five other mass, random shootings have taken place so far this year, not including those related to domestic violence or where the victim and shooter knew each other. A Huffington Post analysis of FBI crime data showed that while single-victim shootings have declined 40% over the last three decades, mass shootings have ticked upward slightly in recent years.
Earlier Friday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg called on President Obama and Republican candidate for president Mitt Romney to take a stand on the issue. Both politicians spoke on the tragedy earlier today, offering their condolences.
"Soothing words are nice, but maybe it’s time that the two people who want to be president of the United States to stand up and tell us what they are going to do about it," he said in an interview with a local New York radio station. "Because this is obviously a problem across the country."
Gross applauded Bloomberg’s comment. “It is the role of the person who wants to be president of United States to do more…to talk about the things that we can do to prevent these tragedies,” he said.
In April, on the anniversary of the Virginia Tech shooting spree that left 32 people dead, the Brady Campaign began a petition to “Stop Arming Dangerous People,” by removing the right of convicted felons, domestic abusers, terrorists, and the dangerously mentally ill to buy, own or carry a gun.
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, whose husband and son were killed during a 1993 shooting in New York, also called for stricter gun control on Friday, saying "We as a nation should also not continue to ignore avenues to prevent tragedies like this from happening in the future."