Through a combination of lies, smokescreens and activating their based, the gun lobbies were able to defeat even a proposal that 80 percent to 90 percent of Americans support, background checks on everyone who buys a firearm from any source. And their victory in two Colorado recalls of state legislators who supported moderate new gun laws in that state will no doubt give elected officials elsewhere pause in considering firearm legislation despite the special circumstances and low turnout that contributed to those legislators losing their seats.
But that's not stopping gun-rights advocates from doing what the gun lobbies have done for decades: sticking to the task.
Today and the rest of the week, 90 members of the Newtown Action Alliance will be in Washington making the rounds of Congress hoping to get talks on background checks back on the agenda. It seems unlikely that will happen until 2014 at the earliest:
They have more than 40 meetings planned with Congressional offices this week, and plan to hold a press conference with Newtown families on Wednesday. A rally with gun control group Mayors Against Illegal Guns is planned for Thursday. [...]But the tough question for many senators and representatives who might otherwise be sympathetic is how effective the gun lobbies will be in turning any restrictive legislation—even background checks—into cudgels at the polls. In New York, Illinois or California, they may have nothing to worry about. But elsewhere, throughout the South, Midwest and West, the National Rifle Association (and gun lobbies that think the NRA is a sellout) give members of Congress and state legislators pause, perhaps now more than ever. This at a time when most state gun laws are looser than they were when Wyatt Earp and his brothers shot up the Clantons in Tombstone. It will take more than one more mass shooting—Monday's was the fifth since Newtown—to change many politicians' minds.
"If you work with survivors every day you can't help but feel a blow to the gut when this happens again," said Mark Glaze, director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, one of the most active gun control groups working to push new laws in Congress and around the country.
"And every time there's another mass shooting, senators who read from the [National Rifle Association's] talking points rather than listening to their constituents ought to be asking themselves some tough questions," he said.