The gun culture in the United States is certainly a artifact to behold.  Schools and communities are scenes of violent murderous shootings. The requisite furor about gun violence rises and falls with each new bloody occurrence.


The theatre of caring about children and their safety played out in the aftermath of Sandy Hook.

“The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting prompted renewed debate about gun control in the United States, including proposals for making the background-check system universal, and for new federal and state legislation banning the sale and manufacture of certain types of semi-automatic firearms and magazines with more than ten rounds of ammunition.[242]

Within hours of the shooting, a We the People petition was started asking the White House to “immediately address the issue of gun control through the introduction of legislation in Congress,”[243][244] and the gun control advocacy group the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence reported that an avalanche of donations in the hours after the shooting caused its website to crash.[245] Five days later, President Obama announced that he would make gun control a “central issue” of his second term,[246] and he created a gun violence task force, to be headed by Vice President Joe Biden.[247] On January 16, 2013, Obama signed 23 executive orders and proposed 12 congressional actions regarding gun control.[248] His proposals included universal background checks on firearms purchases, an assault weapons ban, and a high-capacity magazine ban limiting capacity to 10 cartridges.[249][250]

On December 21, 2012, the National Rifle Association‘s Wayne LaPierre said gun-free school zones attract killers and that another gun ban would not protect Americans. He called on Congress to appropriate funds to hire armed police officers for every American school and announced that the NRA would create the National School Shield Emergency Response Program to help.[251] After LaPierre’s press conference, the Brady Campaign asked for donations to support its gun control advocacy and asked NRA members “who believe like we do, that we are better than this” to join its campaign.[252] On January 8, 2013, former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who was shot and injured in a 2011 shooting in Tucson, launched the gun control group Americans for Responsible Solutions, with a specific aim of matching or exceeding the fundraising capabilities of the NRA and similar groups.[253]

On January 16, 2013, New York became the first U.S. state to act after the shooting when it enacted the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act.[254] On April 3, 2013, Connecticut General Assembly passed a 139-page[255] major gun-control bill with broad bipartisan support.[255] Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed the bill on the same day.[256] The bill requires universal background checks (background checks for all firearm purchases),[257] a high-capacity magazine ban banning the sale or purchase of ammunition magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds of ammunition like those used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting,[258] created the first registry in the United States for dangerous-weapon offenders, and added over 100 types of guns to the state’s assault weapons ban.[255] Pro-gun groups had rallied outside the Capitol to protest prior to the signing[255] and challenged it in court. Federal judge Alfred Covello ruled to uphold the law in January 2014.[259]

On April 4, 2013, Maryland also enacted new restrictions to their existing gun laws.[260][261] However, ten other states passed laws that relaxed gun restrictions.[262]

Legislation introduced in the first session of 113th Congress included the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013[263][264] and the Manchin-Toomey Amendment to expand background checks on gun purchases.[265][266] Both were defeated in the Senate on April 17, 2013.[267]

Phase one in purple text. Phase two in red text.

So, right now we’re in the first phase when outraged people demand action.  We will hear less about the second phase when the measures that were tentative enacted are walked back.

What is apparent is that the amount of gun violence in America is at a level that American’s find acceptable in their society.  We can look to the media to watch people say how horrible it is and what measures to need to be put in place to stop gun violence but those voices and will to change fade.  The fade continues until the next violent incident.

Just to be clear, there is no upper limit to the number of casualties needed to “wake people up”.  If that was the case, the Sandy Hook mass shooting should have been enough.  Or maybe the Pulse Night Club shooting, or the Las Vegas shooting or… 

I hope the conversation amongst the competing interests in the US swings toward the notion of more responsible gun ownership and more supports for individuals who are isolated from society.