Gun control: Did Obama let the moment pass?

Cal Jillson, political science professor at SMU's Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, talks about gun control, says there is still opportunity for some action.

By Linda Feldmann

Washington - Has the moment passed for tighter gun restrictions?

President Obama himself raised that question Thursday at a White House event aimed at revitalizing the prospects for legislation, 100 days after a Connecticut elementary school massacre that shocked the nation.

Flanked by families affected by gun violence, the president made an emotional plea for action and insisted it’s not too late.

“The notion that two months or three months after something as horrific as what happened at Newtown happens, and we’ve moved on to other things?” he said. “That’s not who we are.”

Next Wednesday, Obama will travel to Colorado to highlight the state’s new laws requiring universal background checks for gun buyers and a ban on ammunition magazines of more than 15 rounds. Colorado has seen two of the deadliest shootings in US history – one last July in Aurora, the other at Columbine High School in 1999.

There are certainly signs that momentum toward significant gun legislation has slipped since Newtown. In a CBS News poll out Monday, 47 percent of respondents said gun control laws should be more strict, down from 57 percent right after the Newtown massacre. According to Politico, the National Rifle Association is enjoying record fundraising, which translates into more donations to politicians....

“Expansion of background checks is the piece that has the most public support, so we’ll get something there,” says Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

“Clearly, background checks on private sales between family members or neighbors that requires record-keeping is not going to get any support, but closing the gun-show loophole does.”