Every year, abhorrent acts of gun violence are met with cries of anguish, token denunciation — and nothing else. The debate about guns in the United States has always been between David and Goliath. Last year, the gun lobby outspent advocates of gun control by 11 to 1, or $2.9 million vs. $260,000.
Yet gun violence has disappeared from the national political agenda, even as the United States leads its post-industrial peers with an average of eight times as many annual deaths as a result of gun violence.
In 2008, the Supreme Court established in District of Columbia v. Heller that individuals have the right to own guns — and that the possession of firearms is subject to reasonable regulations. So what has changed since the 1990s, when Congress passed major legislation such as the Brady Bill and the ban on assault weapons? Why have opponents of reasonable gun-control measures gained strength while the gun-control movement has shrunk? The answers are in the heart of the questions.