There were vigils all across the country last night (and there will be more this weekend) for the victims of the Newtown tragedy on its second anniversary, including the one pictured at left that took place at the Judea Reform Congregation in Durham.
And while it was a somber affair, there was some good news to share. For instance:
Since Newtown, 99 laws strengthening gun regulations have been passed in 37 states. This includes new laws protecting domestic violence victims in eight states, California’s new “Gun Violence Restraining Order” law, Washington state’s new universal background checks ballot initiative and new comprehensive regulations in Massachusetts.
Evidence also continues to mount that gun safety laws work since states with stronger laws continue to have lower gun death rates than states with weaker laws.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, public opinion continues to grow in favor of stronger laws. Nine out of 10 Americans now support expanding background checks to cover private sales — this includes 80% of gun owners and 74% of NRA members.
The bottom line: Slowly but surely, the truth is sinking in to Americans that it’s possible (and indeed essential) to craft stronger, smarter laws that protect innocent people without infringing on gun ownership. NRA bullies may dominate the political playing field in many places (like North Carolina) for the time being, but their days of dominance are numbered.