Dec. 14 marks the third anniversary of the fateful day when 20-year-old Adam Lanza burst into Sandy Hook Elementary school and carried out one of the most horrific mass shootings, using a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle to kill 20 children, six school staffers and his mother before committing suicide in Newtown, Connecticut.
The tragedy immediately led to nationwide debate on guns and stricter access to weapons.
However, three years down the lane, nothing has changed. In fact, according to a recent Associated Press review of state legislation, a lot of U.S. states have made the availability of guns much easier, (no) thanks to powerful lobbying by the National Rifle Association.
Arkansas, for instance, passed a law in April 2013, allowing citizens to carry a handgun openly almost anywhere. More recently in March, Republican Rep. Dan Sullivan introduced a bill that expands places, including polling stations, where people can bring their licensed weapons in the state.
In Texas, lawmakers approved a bill in June that would permit people to carry concealed handguns on campuses, despite criticism and opposition from university leaders and Democrats.
The worst of the lot was Kansas, which passed a slew of new laws this year, the most controversial being the “constitutional carry” bill allows people to carry a concealed gun without a permit or proper training.
“More good people will have guns, and I think it will deter the bad people from robbing people," Ken Nagle, a resident of Gardner, told KCTV5.
Prompted by the Sandy Hook shooting, the national debate over gun ownership eventually led to President Barack Obama’s gun control bill in March 2013. The proposal demanded background checks for arms buyers along with other clauses to curb the sale of fire arms in hopes that it would curb gun violence in the country. Unfortunately, the bill failed in the Congress a month later and there has been no significant development since.
According to stats available on the Global Terrorism Database at the University of Maryland, around 18 people died in terror attacks in the U.S. last year, while terror claimed 3,521 lives from 1970 to 2014. On the other hand, a staggering 9,948 people have been killed just this year by gun violence as of August, according to the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive figures.
In spite of the Sandy Hook massacre and the aforementioned, the NRA revenue has astoundingly skyrocketed. The gun lobby grossed almost $348 million in revenue in 2013, $92 million more than what the group generated in 2012.
In the wake of record mass shootings in the country, the NRA is winning. It needs to be the other way around.