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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Industry Expert: After Newtown, Guns Easier To Own In Some States

Firearms Training Unit Detective Barbara J. Mattson of the Connecticut State Police holds up a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle, the same gun used by Adam Lanza in the Sandy Hook School shooting, for a demonstration during a hearing of a legislative subcommittee reviewing gun laws, at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, Conn., Monday, Jan. 28, 2013. (Jessica Hill/AP)

Firearms Training Unit Detective Barbara J. Mattson of the Connecticut State Police holds up a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle, the same gun used by Adam Lanza in the Sandy Hook School shooting, for a demonstration during a hearing of a legislative subcommittee reviewing gun laws, in Hartford, Conn., Jan. 28, 2013. (Jessica Hill/AP)

It’s been almost one year since 20 first graders and six educators were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School by gunman Adam Lanza in Newtown, Conn.

What’s happened on gun control since then?

Not much at the federal level, though Democrats and Republicans do seem to be in agreement on extending a ban on plastic guns that expires on Monday, even though the ban is widely viewed as flawed because it won’t stop people from making plastic guns with 3D printers.

And while some states have toughened gun restrictions, others have loosened them. Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson discusses the year in guns with Paul Barrett, senior writer at Bloomberg Businessweek and author of “Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun.”

Do you think it should be easier or harder to get a gun, nearly a year after Newtown? Tell us on Facebook or in the comments.

Interview Highlights: Paul Barrett

On why change at the federal level is so difficult

“We got no significant change in federal gun control rules as a result of the atrocity at Newtown. The pro-gun forces, even though they may be a minority in the country overall, are a very, very well organized minority.”

“The way we are organized right now — with the tremendous influence that the far right has over the Republican Party, which after all controls the House of Representatives — it is a political impossibility to put anything through Congress that would in anyway be a meaningful addition to the federal rules that already exist.”

On why tougher gun laws won’t stop the next mass shooting

“In a country that is already permeated by gun ownership, where the civilian possession of guns is seen as commonplace, it’s simply not as easy — and shouldn’t be as easy — to simply say, ‘This isn’t the country I want to live in, I want to live in a different and better country.’ That just doesn’t take you anywhere. In the case of the Navy Yard shooting, I think the only applicable thing to talk about is mental health treatment.”

“Talking about tinkering with the rules about how we lawfully acquire guns doesn’t address the mass shootings situation, and I think it’s also the case that it doesn’t really have much to do with violent crimes on the streets on a day-to-day basis.”

Guest


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Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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