The gun debate that riveted the state capitol in 2013, once again took center stage Monday. Fewer people came to the capitol to testify on a key gun bill than the last round, but emotions were still strong.
Protesters at the capitol in 2013 during the gun control debates.
Credit Bente Birkeland
After dominating last year’s legislative session state lawmakers are once again beginning to debate the issue of guns. Republicans are taking the lead this time around, trying to repeal many Democratic bills including stepped up background checks.
For gun control advocates hoping to see federal gun laws tighten after the shootings in Newtown, Conn., 2013 was a disheartening year. A narrow provision to expand background checks failed in the Senate.
For gun rights activists, the death of that legislation proved once more their single-issue intensity and decades-long grass-roots organizing were enough to prevail. Those are also valuable lessons for their opponents.
Democratic state lawmakers say a new law requiring universal background checks for gun purchases is working well. Data from the Department of Public Safety shows 2 percent of private gun sales were blocked because of the law.