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Analysis: Colorado shooting unlikely to spur changes in gun laws


The following Reuters story ran July 20, 2012. Political Scientist Cal Jillson provided expertise.

July 31, 2012

By John Whitesides and David Ingram

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is a member of a coalition called Mayors Against Illegal Guns, but when he issued a statement expressing shock and horror on Friday after a mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater, he had nothing to say about gun control.

Neither did President Barack Obama nor his Republican rival Mitt Romney, though both canceled campaign speeches on Friday and expressed sorrow for the victims of the shooting rampage.

The killing of 12 people at a midnight screening of the new Batman movie in the Denver suburb of Aurora may spark a fresh round of soul-searching on America's relationship with guns but few predict any real change in the law.

That's because gun control advocates have largely lost the argument against the much more powerful gun lobby, and politicians know the issue is toxic with voters....

"There are strong forces in American politics, led by the National Rifle Association, that have prevented any real changes in gun control laws in years," said Cal Jillson, a political analyst at Southern Methodist University in Texas.

"In the short term, this incident will give some liberal Democrats an opportunity to talk about gun control in an environment where people are listening, but in the long term it doesn't change anything," he said....