9 November 2015
Few states reform gun laws after mass shootings in US

By Jim Ding

Mass shootings pushed Colorado, Connecticut and New York to pass stricter gun laws, Los Angeles Times reporter Kurtis Lee said at Hong Kong Baptist University in a lecture on gun control debate in the United States.

Lee won a Pulitzer Prize for his Denver Post coverage of the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado in 2012 that killed 12 and injured 70. He also covered gun debate in Colorado’s state capitol.

Though a few states voted to increase gun restrictions after a series of mass shootings in the US,  most laws loosened them. Of the 109 gun laws passed in the US in 2013, only 39 tightened restrictions, according to a New York Times graphic.

Gun control debate is mostly split across Republicans and Democrats, Lee said. Two proponents of Colorado’s stricter gun laws, both Democrats, lost state Senate seats last year.

Those seats were won back in Colorado elections this week.

Interest groups, such as the National Rifle Association, play a large role in gun control, Lee said.

The NRA, one of the most powerful opponents of gun control, grades lawmakers from A to F to reflect their voting record on gun control laws. Members of congress with an “A” grade often get NRA campaign contributions.

For example, one Colorado congressman with an NRA grade “F,” received no campaign contributions from the organization while one with an “A” grade received more than US$ 9,000, according to an interactive graphic by the New York Times.

Americans privately own more than 300 million firearms, roughly one for every citizen, according to Gunpolicy.org.