Two years after Newtown shootings, the NRA won the debate over guns

BY Domenico Montanaro, Quinn Bowman, Rachel Wellford, Simone Pathe and Lisa Desjardins  December 15, 2014 at 9:27 AM EST

A display of 7-round .45 caliber handguns are seen at Coliseum Gun Traders Ltd. in Uniondale, New York.  Two years after the Newtown shootings, little progress has been made on limiting gun rights. Photo by Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Today in the Morning Line:

  • More Americans side with gun rights over control for first time
  • Despite studies on gun-related deaths, most say gun ownership protects potential victims
  • Giffords, Bloomberg unable to make many inroads

Post-Newtown — Guns in America: Sunday marked two years since 28 people, including 20 children, were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. So where do we stand as a country on the issue of guns? Despite the mass shooting, President Obama and allies in Congress were unable to pass anything related to background checks, despite the overwhelming support in the polls for the measure, let alone limits on ammunition in gun clips. Just how much has the National Rifle Association won the message? Consider: Pew Research’s latest polling shows, for the first time in two decades of surveys, that a majority of Americans think protecting the rights of gun owners (52 percent) is more important than controlling gun ownership (46 percent). In 1993, it was reversed — 57 percent said controlling gun ownership was more important than the 34 percent who said so about protecting gun rights.

Two Years After Newtown, A Shift in Favor of Gun Rights

Most Americans say owning a gun protects potential victims: What’s more, since the Newtown shootings, those saying owning a gun does more to protect someone from becoming a victim of a crime is up nine points from 48 percent to 57 percent. Just 38 percent said it put people’s safety at risk. All of that is despite studies, including one out this year, showing people who own guns are twice as likely to be killed by one and three times more likely to commit suicide.

Increasing Number Say Gun Ownership Protects People From Crime

Gun-control groups face steepest of odds: Despite spending tens of millions of dollars in states and in the 2014 elections, mostly unsuccessfully, gun-control groups, like those started by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, are vowing to continue playing in elections. But without a change of culture or politics, especially with an expanded Republican majority in the House and a Senate newly controlled by the GOP, it’s a safe bet that nothing will pass on limiting gun rights. Some of the families of the victims of the Newtown shootings are going a different route — through the courts.