Suddenly, a Formidable Force for Gun Control ; from the 50 States to a Million Moms, Momentum Builds. Will New Laws Follow?

By Francine Kiefer, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, May 1, 2000 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Suddenly, a Formidable Force for Gun Control ; from the 50 States to a Million Moms, Momentum Builds. Will New Laws Follow?


Francine Kiefer, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


For decades, the gun lobby has had most of the money. It's had most of the foot soldiers. More important, it's had most of the political clout.

But all that may be changing.

A number of factors point to a slow - some say inevitable - move toward tighter restrictions on guns in American society. From this weekend's Million Mom March - a grass-roots crusade for gun legislation that has been compared with Mothers Against Drunk Driving - to gun control's prominent role in the presidential campaign, the gun-control lobby is gaining a momentum it has not seen since the Brady Bill was enacted in 1993.

While gun-control measures remain stalled at the federal level and in some state legislatures, a number of historians, political analysts, and pollsters say recent high-profile shootings have pushed the issue to the forefront of public consciousness and sparked a new level of activism that heralds future change.

Even if the gun lobby's dream candidate, George W. Bush, were to win in November, that would only be a "short-term" setback, says Robert Spitzer, author of "The Politics of Gun Control." The movement would simply intensify in the states until Washington finally caught on. "In the long term, the tide is against" the gun lobby, he says.

That shift is marked by several developments since the Colorado shootings just over a year ago:

*About one-third of the nation's Republican governors have backed stronger gun laws in their states, including those in some Western strongholds of the National Rifle Association.

Sometimes, the governors have chosen centrist positions backed by the NRA, like toughening sentences for crimes committed with guns. But they've also backed more radical steps, such as regulating guns as consumer products, prohibiting concealed weapons, and making adults responsible for minors' use of guns.

*Gun-control forces are expanding their army of advocates, in the form of hundreds of thousands of mothers. The NRA's strength has always been its membership, who get out the vote and can topple lawmakers who legislate against their cause.

"The missing ingredient [for gun-control advocates] has been a very strong grass roots," says Joe Sudbay of Handgun Control Inc., the chief gun-control lobby. The Million Mom March, he says, creates "a whole new crowd of activists." The mothers also represent a crucial constituency - swing voters from the suburbs.

*State, local, and federal governments are pushing their agenda in a new venue: the courtroom. Perhaps more than legislation, lawsuits aimed at gun manufacturers can "really change how guns are manufactured, their design, and also the selling and marketing," says Jon Vernick, associate director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. Gun manufacturers are fighting these lawsuits.

*Finally, never before has gun control reached such a crescendo in a presidential campaign. Last week, Vice President Al Gore and Governor Bush exchanged barbs as Mr. Gore accused Mr. Bush of being in the pocket of the NRA.

Indeed, Handgun Control Inc. has begun a nationwide television ad campaign in which the first vice president at the NRA boasts about its influence in a Bush White House. The uproar prompted Bush to distance himself from the NRA, stating, "I'll make the decisions about what goes on in the White House."

Additionally, analysts point out the significance of former Democratic candidate Bill Bradley and Gore raising the gun-control debate to a new level by demanding gun licensing.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Suddenly, a Formidable Force for Gun Control ; from the 50 States to a Million Moms, Momentum Builds. Will New Laws Follow?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.