The Fix: Gun control

Why Congress isn’t passing new gun laws, Chris Christie edition

Why Congress isn’t passing new gun laws, Chris Christie edition

There has been relatively little movement toward a new gun debate in Congress, despite the shootings of a dozen people just blocks from Capitol Hill last week.

And there’s a reason. Take Chris Christie, for example.

Earlier this year, Christie vetoed three pieces of gun legislation passed by the state legislature — a ban on the .50-caliber Barrett rifle, a bill that expanded background checks and gun safety training, and a bill requiring the state to send information on lost and discarded guns to a federal database.

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The next gun control debate -- in 6 charts

The next gun control debate -- in 6 charts

A day after an armed man killed a dozen people at the Navy Yard in Washington. Democrats and gun control activists are already pushing for another look at the nation’s gun laws.

The Senate failed earlier this year to pass new background checks legislation in the aftermath of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. -- something that should give pause to anybody who thinks Congress will pass new gun laws now.

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The Colorado recalls dealt a serious blow to gun-control advocates. Here’s why.

The Colorado recalls dealt a serious blow to gun-control advocates. Here’s why.

Something pretty remarkable happened in Colorado on Tuesday night. John Morse, the Democratic president of the state Senate, was recalled from office. So was Democratic state Sen. Angela Giron.

Taken together, the losses arguably represent the biggest defeat for gun-control advocates since the push for expanded background checks failed in the U.S. Senate earlier this year.

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Five things to watch on Election Day in New York and Colorado

Five things to watch on Election Day in New York and Colorado

Note: We originally posted this item on Monday, 9/9. We are re-posting it today as voters go to the polls.

Voters head to the polls in New York and Colorado on Tuesday to cast ballots in some high-stakes races that are not to be missed. From fresh clarity about the gun control debate to whittling down the possibilities of who will get the top job in America’s most populous city, here are the five biggest things to watch:

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The party line between Bloomberg and Schumer

The party line between Bloomberg and Schumer

NEW YORK -- Chuck Schumer and Michael Bloomberg both believe in gun control. But only Schumer believes in political parties.

That contrast is at the heart of Schumer's recent criticism of Bloomberg's efforts to run ads against Democrats who voted against background checks. Schumer said in an interview with Time that the effort was not "effective." What he really means, of course, is that Bloomberg using his vast fortune to punish Democrats is politically certifiable and undercutting of Bloomberg's very own anti-gun agenda. The chances of a Republican Senate doing anything on gun control is approximately nil. By endangering some of the very Democrats that Schumer helped elect as architect of the current Democratic majority, Bloomberg is only guaranteeing the death of the issue he cares about perhaps most deeply.

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Democrats still aren't being ruthless about gun control

Democrats still aren't being ruthless about gun control

Democrats say Republicans will pay a price in the 2014 election for their opposition to popular gun-cuntrol measures.

But even for many in the Democratic caucus, gun control still isn't a litmus-test issue. Democrats, quite simply, continue to be very accommodating to pro-gun Democrats -- even when they don't need to be -- and that bodes ill for any effort to revive the gun debate.

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Where is Organizing for Action working? Mostly in blue states.

Where is Organizing for Action working? Mostly in blue states.

Organizing for Action, President Obama's political advocacy group, on Monday released a snazzy interactive map showing how OFA supporters were influential in the gun debate over the last two months.

But a close look shows that OFA supporters were most active in states where Obama's agenda is already widely popular and were much less energized in states where Obama needs to win over lawmakers to his side.

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Joe Manchin is not done with gun control. Does it matter?

Joe Manchin is not done with gun control. Does it matter?

Eleven days after the amendment he co-authored to expand background checks for gun purchases was rejected by his Senate colleagues, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) sounded optimistic Sunday about a second try.

"I'm willing to go anywhere in this country, I'm going to debate anybody on this issue, read the bill and you tell me what you don't like," Manchin said on "Fox News Sunday," reiterating his intention to bring his measure back to the Senate floor.

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Why the gun bill failed -- in one more chart

Why the gun bill failed -- in one more chart

Last week, we looked at a chart showing how the number of gun businesses in a senator's state affected their vote on gun control. Today, we look at another chart that tells the story of the gun debate.

The Pew Research Center is out with a new report that shows -- via social media statistics -- a good approximation of why the gun control push failed.

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Majority of Americans say guns make homes safer

Majority of Americans say guns make homes safer

The failure of popular Senate gun proposals Wednesday affirmed -- even in the wake of Newtown shootings -- the rigidity of the politics on the issue.

Lost amid the debate is the fact that for the first time a majority of Americans say having a gun in the household makes it a safer place to be, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. By a wide 51 to 29 percent margin, more people say a gun in the house makes it safer rather than more dangerous.

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Is the political fight on guns over? Or is it just beginning?

Is the political fight on guns over? Or is it just beginning?

In angry remarks following the defeat of a bipartisan amendment on background checks that presaged the broader collapse of an effort to pass more stringent gun control legislation, President Obama promised the fight would go on.

"I believe we're going to be able to get this one," he said. "Sooner or later we are going to get this right." He added: "I see this as just round one."

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The gun amendments need 60 votes to pass. But why?

The gun amendments need 60 votes to pass. But why?

The Senate will begin voting Wednesday afternoon on nine proposed amendments to President Obama's gun control bill -- all of which will need at least 60 votes to be added to the overall legislation. That high bar seems certain to doom a high profile and bipartisan effort to expand background checks with even the architects of the amendment acknowledging Wednesday morning that the votes simply weren't there.

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What the failure on background checks tells us about Washington

What the failure on background checks tells us about Washington

The failure of an amendment to expand background checks on gun purchases -- the signature piece of a legislative package backed by the White House to curb gun violence -- ends a journey that began in late December when 20 children and six adults were murdered in Newtown, Connecticut.

Studying the path from Newtown to the vote on the amendment offered by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) that came up short of the 60 votes it needed is an instructive exercise in how Washington works.

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Why gun laws are so hard to pass

Why gun laws are so hard to pass

Gun owners are far more politically engaged than are those in households without guns, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, a chasm that goes a long way toward explaining the seeming disconnect between Congress and the American public when it comes to reforming the country's firearms laws.

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Sunday Show roundup: Rubio voices support for bipartisan immigration proposal

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) was all over the Sunday show circuit, declaring his support for a bipartisan immigration reform proposal. Will his support be enough to convince skeptical conservatives? That remains a key question moving forward.

Gun control was also a focal point on Sunday, with senators in both parties saying they are uncertain if a bipartisan compromise to expand background checks on gun purchases has the votes to pass this week.

Read about it all in more detail over on Post Politics:

Rubio throws weight behind bipartisan immigration proposal

Dick Durbin: 'We haven't whipped' Manchin-Toomey gun compromise

Marco Rubio says Jay-Z 'needs to get informed'

Marco Rubio: GOP decoder ring

Marco Rubio: GOP decoder ring

Amid all the uncertainty in the debates over guns and immigration is a snapshot of the state of play on both fronts. His name is Marco Rubio.

For either gun control or immigration reform to pass, the reality is that Democrats need to persuade at least some Republicans in Congress to join them.Thus, the Florida Republican senator's posturing on the issues is well worth watching. As a potential presidential candidate who must mind his every move, Rubio is both a good barometer of what's politically palatable for much of his party, as well someone who can entice others to follow his lead.

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Why Republicans shouldn't filibuster the gun bill

Why Republicans shouldn't filibuster the gun bill

If Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) can't come to a deal on expanded background checks sometime in the next few days, President Obama's gun legislation is headed toward a filibuster led by some of the Senate's most conservative members.

Politically speaking, such a move could have short-term benefits for Republicans but also creates real risks for further damage to the party's already tarnished brand in the long(er) term.

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Pat Toomey: Gun control's unlikely savior?

Pat Toomey: Gun control's unlikely savior?

Reports Sunday cast Pennsylvania Republican Senator Pat Toomey in a seemingly unlikely role: the man who might save the gun control bill.

Toomey, as The Washington Post's Greg Sargent reported last week, is currently in talks with West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) about a deal on expanded background checks -- an effort that comes amid concerns from gun control advocates that the best chance to significantly alter gun rights in more than a decade was disappearing.

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Sunday shows roundup: Debate over gun legislation ramps up

Sunday shows roundup: Debate over gun legislation ramps up

The debate over guns was a major focal point across the Sunday show landscape, with the question of whether lawmakers will pass a measure to expand background checks on firearm purchases front and center.

As Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he was hopeful the Senate could still pass background checks, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who has been working on the issue, has found a new GOP partner, Sen Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). If they can strike a bipartisan agreement, chances of passage will go up.

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'The Daily Show' on a gun buyback program (VIDEO)

John Oliver of "The Daily Show" explores a situation in which some have tried to protect people from guns, while others have tried to protect guns from people:

President Obama's moral appeal on guns

President Obama's moral appeal on guns

President Obama made an emotional appeal today for members of Congress to put aside political concerns when it comes to gun control and instead vote their consciences, a rhetorical approach that presages his closing argument on the matter with the Senate set to begin consideration of the legislation in early April.

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The two flawed messengers of the gun debate

The two flawed messengers of the gun debate

On "Meet the Press" this past Sunday, the two most recognizable faces in the gun control/rights fight made appearances: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg arguing in favor of more restrictions on guns and NRA head honcho Wayne LaPierre arguing against them.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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Sunday show roundup: LaPierre vs. Bloomberg

Sunday show roundup: LaPierre vs. Bloomberg

A quick programming note: Our coverage of the Sunday shows is moving over to our sister blog, Post Politics.

Each and every Sunday, we'll continue to bring you the news you need to know from the five morning news shows. As part of our recently formed digital politics strike force, Post Politics will focus on news, while The Fix will continue to focus on news analysis, polling, and other good stuff.

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Newtown didn't change the politics of guns

Newtown didn't change the politics of guns

The decision this week by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to drop the assault weapons ban and a ban on high-capacity clips from the broader Congressional effort to curb gun violence sent an unmistakable message: The murders of 20 children in Newtown, Conn., in late 2012 has not changed politics as much as many people thought it might.

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President Obama supports the assault weapons ban -- to a point.

President Obama supports the assault weapons ban -- to a point.

Now that the Senate Judiciary Committee has passed legislation banning nearly 160 types of military-style assault weapons, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) would love to have President Obama give it a major legislative push. Judging by White House spokesman Jay Carney's comments Thursday, Feinstein shouldn't hold her breath.

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Gun dealers vs. post offices (in one chart)

There are more gun dealers in the United States than post offices.

We picked up on this data point last night in a discussion with Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), who's leading House Democrats in their push to enact new gun laws. Citing government statistics, Thompson noted that as of January, there were 31,857 post offices across the country, compared with 58,344 licensed gun dealers. You can see that comparison demonstrated in this chart:

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Everything you need to know about what Congress is (and isn't) doing this week

Everything you need to know about what Congress is (and isn't) doing this week
(JONATHAN ERNST REUTERS)

It's the ninth inning, or the fourth quarter with just seconds left on the clock. It's like having four days left before a big midterm paper is due. It's like oh, forget the cliches, we've seen this all before: Congress is coming back to Washington from a week-long recess, there's just four days left until $85 billion in automatic federal spending cuts begin -- but this time, lawmakers are making no effort to sort it out before the deadline.

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Sen. Coburn: 'I don't think we are that close' to deal on gun sale background checks

Sen. Coburn: 'I don't think we are that close' to deal on gun sale background checks

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said Sunday that a bipartisan Senate group he belongs to isn't "that close" to striking a deal to expand background checks on gun sales, citing a remaining disagreement over keeping records.

"I don't think we are that close to a deal," Coburn said on "Fox News Sunday."

The Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe reported that the group is on the verge of striking a deal to expand background checks to all private gun sales with limited exceptions, but that disagreements remain over the issue of recordkeeping of private gun sales.

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McCain: Background check package can likely win support of most senators

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) expressed optimism Sunday that a measure to expand background checks on gun purchases could win support from most senators.

"There [are] some senators, bipartisan again, Sen. [Tom] Coburn (R-Okla.) and Sen. [Joe] Manchin (D-W.Va.) and some others who are working on package that I think that most of us will be able to support," McCain said on NBC News' "Meet The Press."

The group McCain referred to has been working to develop a proposal to expand background check requirements on gun purchases. Under current law, transactions involving licensed gun dealers require background checks, while others do not.

There is a growing consensus on Capitol Hill that a law requiring universal background checks stands a better chance of winning passage than a proposed ban on assault-style weapons.

Putting gun violence in context -- in 1 amazing chart

Putting gun violence in context -- in 1 amazing chart

Gun control legislation continues to work its way through Congress, but passing a bill that will actually affect what kinds of guns and ammunition people can buy remains well short of a certainty.

The fact is that, while the nation mourned our losses after the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., and some kind of legislation (background checks, for example) seems likely to pass, gun violence quite simply isn't an immediate concern for the vast majority of Americans. There are many reasons for that, but a major one is because it has never touched them in a direct way.

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Debate over guns takes center stage in Illinois special election

Debate over guns takes center stage in Illinois special election

Against the backdrop of a city plagued by violence, the nation's renewed debate over guns has taken center stage in a Chicago-area congressional race. The campaign is a test of whether gun-control advocates led by one of the nation's leading activists can defeat former congresswoman Debbie Halvorson, arguably the front-runner for Jesse Jackson Jr.'s old seat.

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Reid supports expanding background checks; unsure about assault weapons ban

Reid supports expanding background checks; unsure about assault weapons ban

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said he's unsure whether he will support a ban on assault weapons and restrictions on high-capacity ammunition magazines, but voiced support for increased background checks on firearm purchases in an interview that aired Sunday.

"I didn't vote for the assault weapons last time because it was -- didn't make sense. But I'll take a look at it," Reid said in an interview on ABC News' "This Week With George Stephanopoulos."

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Why the assault weapons ban is going nowhere, Part 2

Why the assault weapons ban is going nowhere, Part 2

On Tuesday, we looked at four big reasons why the assault weapons ban is very unlikely to pass in today's Congress.

Today, we're adding two more: the makeup of the House and former GOP supporters backing away from it.

When the 1994 assault weapons ban was approved, it passed by the narrowest of margins in the House, 216-214.

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Why the assault weapons ban is (probably) going nowhere

Why the assault weapons ban is (probably) going nowhere

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced a new version of the assault weapons ban on Thursday.

And it's already looking like a lost cause.

Most everyone agrees that the ban is the most ambitious and politically difficult item on President Obama's and Vice President Biden's gun control agenda. And there is increasing evidence that it will be cast aside in favor or more doable proposals. Below, we look at four reasons why.

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Sen. Ted Cruz: Gun show loophole 'doesn't exist'

Sen. Ted Cruz: Gun show loophole 'doesn't exist'

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) said Sunday that the "gun show loophole" doesn't exist, pushing back against gun control advocates' call for background checks in all guns sales.

"You know, there actually isn't the so-called ‘gun show loophole,'" Cruz, a gun-rights advocate, said on NBC News's "Meet The Press." "That doesn't exist. Any licensed firearm dealer who sells at a gun show has to have a background check. It's a requirement that applies to every licensed firearm dealer. What it doesn't apply to is personal sales one on one. And that's true whether it's at a gun show or not."

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Is it fair to call them 'assault weapons'?

Is it fair to call them 'assault weapons'?

The gun lobby is one of the most influential interest groups in American politics. But even as groups like the National Rifle Association (NRA) exercise considerable sway over Washington lawmakers, they are fighting a losing battle on one very important front: the language of the gun debate.

Since the shooting massacre last month at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school, the media have focused intensely on the potential for a new, so-called assault weapons ban. But gun rights backers insist that such a ban is already in place. In fact, they argue, "assault weapons" is a wholly misleading and politically loaded (no pun intended) term that gun control advocates have successfully convinced the mainstream media to use as a blanket term.

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The NRA's influence -- in 6 charts

Now that President Obama has formally unveiled his proposals to curb gun violence -- banning high capacity ammunition clips, a ban on assault weapons and universal background checks -- the fight now moves to Congress.

And, that is where the idealism of these proposals will run into hard, practical realities. None is more concrete than the influence the National Rifle Association exerts in House and Senate -- thanks in large part to its ability to spend significant sums to help Members of Congress get elected.

Below -- thanks to WaPo graphics wizard (and North Carolina Tar Heels fan) Wilson Andrews the story of the NRA's financial influence in Congress is told though a series of charts detailing the organization's political contributions during 2012. It's fascinating stuff.

President Obama's new negotiating tactic: Stop negotiating with yourself

President Obama's new negotiating tactic: Stop negotiating with yourself

As the details of President Obama's plan to curb gun violence in the country began to leak out over the past 24 hours, one thing became immediately clear: He was asking for it all.

That is, rather than attempting to pick off an issue here or an issue there that would allow him to declare that he had acted in the wake of the horrors of the shootings in Newtown, Conn., President Obama chose to unveil a sweeping package of executive actions and legislative proposals that is being described as the most expansive attempt to curtail violence with guns in decades.

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Sen. Joe Manchin: Stand-alone assault weapons ban 'will not go anywhere'

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Sunday that a stand-alone ban on assault weapons would not win passage in Congress, and that the effort to curb mass shootings must include a broader discussion involving the entertainment industry and mental health issues.

"An assault weapons stand-alone ban on just guns alone, in the political reality we have, will not go anywhere. It has to be comprehensive," Manchin said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Manchin, a conservative Democrat who has received high marks from the NRA, said in the wake of the mass shooting at a school in Newtown, Conn., that it was time for a new discussion about regulations on assault weapons. He later wrote in a Washington Post op-ed that the problem of mass shootings must be addressed in a comprehensive manner, by looking at guns, security, the entertainment industry and mental health issues. He reiterated that view Sunday.

NRA President: Assault weapons ban not likely to pass Congress

NRA President: Assault weapons ban not likely to pass Congress

National Rifle Association President David Keene said Sunday that he does not believe a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines will win passage with the current Congress.

"I would say that the likelihood is that they are not going to be able to get an assault weapons ban through this Congress," Keene said on CNN's "State Of The Union."

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Cuomo, Hickenlooper leading charge on state gun control measures

Cuomo, Hickenlooper leading charge on state gun control measures

While an Obama administration task force and lawmakers on Capitol Hill work to come up with ways to curb gun violence at the federal level in the wake of the recent mass shooting at a Newtown, Conn., school, state lawmakers have also been active with efforts to address the issue since the tragedy.

New York, for example, appears poised to move swiftly ahead with new gun control measures. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) used his Wednesday State of the State address to call for tighter restrictions, including a pitch to pass the country's toughest assault weapons ban, require background checks in private gun sales, and stiffen penalties for illegal guns sales.

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Joe Biden and NRA have long history of antagonism

Joe Biden and NRA have long history of antagonism

When Joe Biden meets with the National Rifle Association later today, he will not be amongst friends.

Biden's relationship over the years with the NRA has been marked by antagonism -- particularly given Biden's central role in passing the 1994 crime bill that codified the first federal assault weapons ban. Biden has also routinely earned an ‘F' rating from the group.

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Biden promises White House action on gun control

Biden promises White House action on gun control

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Sen. Heidi Heitkamp cautions against 'extreme' gun control measures

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp cautions against 'extreme' gun control measures

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D) on Sunday warned against pressing for excessive gun control regulations, cautioning that such measures wouldn't win passage from lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

"I think you need to put everything on the table, but what I hear from the administration -- and if the Washington Post is to be believed -- that's way, way in extreme of what I think is necessary or even should be talked about. And it's not going to pass," Heitkamp said on ABC News's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos."

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Michael Bloomberg: Media falls short on gun violence coverage (video)

Michael Bloomberg: Media falls short on gun violence coverage (video)

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) told NBC's Jimmy Fallon on Thursday that more media attention needs to be paid to the nation's gun violence problem, which he argued only catches the notice of the press after mass shootings like the one in Newtown, Conn.

"There's 33 people killed in America with guns every single day of the year," Bloomberg said on "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon." "And nobody seems to care. It only catches the press's attention when it's young kids concentrated. And it was terribly tragic -- but there are kids killed every day all across this country."

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Will 2013 be Joe Biden's year?

Will 2013 be Joe Biden's year?

President Obama delivered a statement at the White House late Tuesday night praising Congress for passing a deal to avert the fiscal cliff. Flanking him was Vice President Biden, the man who hammered out that deal.

It was a signature moment for a vice president who's experienced a roller-coaster first term. And it solidified Biden's standing as a key player in two of the administration's most immediate legislative priorities following the 2012 election.

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How Newtown changed Americans' views on guns (and how it didn't)

How Newtown changed Americans' views on guns (and how it didn't)

The Newtown shootings two weeks ago sparked an intense reaction across the country, and public opinion polls captured major changes in the way the public interprets such events and how strict gun laws should be, but only minor shifts in support for specific policies. Here is a rundown of what public views changed, and what didn't, after the shootings.

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Record number of Americans oppose handgun ban

Record number of Americans oppose handgun ban

An unprecedented number of Americans support the right to own a handgun, despite the recent mass killings at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., that have renewed the push for gun control.

Even with the killings in Newtown as a backdrop, a new Gallup poll shows 74 percent of Americans now support the right to possess a handgun, while just 24 percent would support a ban.

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Wayne LaPierre: Gun control 'not going to make any kid safer'

Wayne LaPierre: Gun control 'not going to make any kid safer'

National Rifle Association head Wayne LaPierre said Sunday that gun control measures, including an assault weapons ban, won't do anything to to prevent mass shootings like the recent elementary school killing in Newtown, Conn.

"I know this town wants to argue about gun control," LaPierre said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," adding: "It's not going to work. It hasn't worked."

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Tim Scott on NRA plan: Shouldn't be a 'rush to judgment'

Senator-designate Tim Scott (R-S.C.) on Sunday stopped short of embracing the National Rifle Association's proposal to install armed guards at America's schools.

Asked about the NRA's plan on CBS's "Face the Nation," Scott said he's keeping his options open.


Senator-designate Tim Scott (Rainier Ehrhardt/AP)

"I think the president has just established a committee to take a serious, holistic look at what we need to do as a nation to make sure that our kids are safe," Scott said. "To rush to judgment, I think, is a bit premature, on what we should do."

Scott said he looked forward to seeing the proposal from the committee, which is being headed by Vice President Biden.

"I think after we have the committee's report we should take a very serious look at whatever it takes to keep our kids safe at school," Scott said. "We don't know what that is yet and we're just finishing the week of so many funerals. We should continue to pray for the family members."

NRA's Asa Hutchinson: Gun control is not the answer

National Rifle Association consultant Asa Hutchinson said Sunday that gun control plays no role in solving the problems of mass shootings.

Hutchinson and NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre appeared at a press conference Friday but took their first questions from the media on the Sunday morning shows.

Pressed on whether gun control measures should even be on the table, Hutchinson said on ABC's "This Week" that they wouldn't make a difference.

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Where the NRA is spending its money in Congress

Where the NRA is spending its money in Congress

With the National Rifle Association at the center of the debate over what legislatively can be done following the massacre at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut last week, it's worth looking at where the NRA spends it money when it comes to Congress.

And, thanks to the Sunlight Foundation -- a Fix favorite! -- we can see not only the partisan breakdown of NRA giving but also the biggest recipients of NRA cash in the 2012 election.

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Congress and the courage question

Congress and the courage question

President Obama on Wednesday called for members of Congress to summon something they aren't known for: courage.

Obama at a news conference said members -- presumably most of them Republicans -- need to gather "one tiny iota of the courage those teachers in Newtown summoned on Friday" in order to pass gun control.

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A gun ownership boom?

A gun ownership boom?

Even as Americans have become more and more opposed to new gun control measures in recent years, the actual number of households owning guns has declined.

Until recently, that is.

The following chart, from the Violence Policy Center, tracks gun ownership in American households from 1973 to 2010. (The VPC is a pro-gun control interest group, but the data are from the nonpartisan General Social Survey.)

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The NRA's big spending edge -- in 1 chart

It's no secret that the National Rifle Association is among the best-funded and, therefore, most powerful interest groups in Washington.

The chart below, which was put together by City Limits, a "New York City-based non-profit that strengthens community engagement on civic, economic, and social justice issues", paints the disparity between the NRA's spending and that of groups advocating for more gun control in stark relief.

To be clear, the amounts below are not indicative of how much money is being spent on direct lobbying or campaigns but rather the total sum of money these organizations disburse, according to 990 forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service.

For you non math-majors out there, the NRA alone spent roughly $240 million more than the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the biggest-spending gun control group. That means the Brady Center's spending amounts to approximately one percent of the NRA's spending in 2010.

Where the Senate stands on guns -- in one chart

Where the Senate stands on guns -- in one chart

With at least one lifelong National Rifle Association member -- Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.a) -- jumping on board with pushing new gun control measures in the aftermath of the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., we thought it worthwhile to look at where the other senators stand.

Guns are a very regional issue that often don't fall neatly along party lines. There are many Democrats who have great ratings from the NRA, and some Republicans who have not-so-good ratings.

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Gun-rights advocates in Senate absent from Sunday shows

Gun-rights advocates in Senate absent from Sunday shows

Senators advocating for gun rights were nowhere to be found on two Sunday morning network news shows that reached out to them, even as senators pressing for more gun control expounded their positions on the same programs.

Betsy Fischer Martin, executive producer of NBC's "Meet The Press," tweeted Sunday morning that the show "reached out to ALL 31 pro-gun rights Sens in the new Congress to invite them to share their views on @meetthepress NO takers."

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GOP Rep. Gohmert: More access to guns could avert mass shootings

GOP Rep. Gohmert: More access to guns could avert mass shootings

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) suggested Sunday that greater access to guns could help prevent mass killings akin to the deadly shooting at a Connecticut school Friday.

"Once we have this actually open dialogue about the situation, Chris, you find out that every mass killing of more than three people in recent history has been in a place where guns were prohibited," Gohmert said in an interview on "Fox News Sunday."

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Feinstein will introduce assault weapons ban in Senate

Feinstein will introduce assault weapons ban in Senate

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) vowed Sunday to introduce legislation to ban assault weapons at the start of the next Congress.

"I'm going to introduce in the Senate and the same bill will be introduced in the House, a bill to ban assault weapons. It will ban the sale, the transfer, the importation and the possession. Not retroactively but prospectively. And it will ban the same for big clips, drums or strips of more than 10 bullets. So there will be a bill. We've been working on it now for a year," Feinstein said on NBC's "Meet The Press" during a discussion about guns following Friday's deadly mass shooting as a Connecticut school.

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Bloomberg: Gun control should be Obama's 'number one agenda'

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) said Sunday that gun control should be President Obama's "number one agenda," in the wake of Friday's deadly mass shooting at a Connecticut school.

"It's time for the president, I think, to stand up and lead and tell this country what we should do -- not go to Congress and say, ‘What do you guys want to do?'" Bloomberg said on NBC's "Meet The Press." "This should be his number one agenda. He's president of the United States. And if he does nothing during his second term, something like 48,000 Americans will be killed with illegal guns."

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Lieberman: Restore assault weapons ban, start 'national commission on mass violence'

Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) on Sunday called for a restoration of a federal assault weapons ban that expired in 2004, as well the launch of a national commission aimed at preventing instances of mass violence from happening again.

"I think we ought to restore that assault weapons ban," Lieberman said on "Fox News Sunday," during a discussion about Friday's deadly shooting at a school in his home state, in which a gunman used as semiautomatic weapon to kill 20 children and six adults.

Lieberman also called for the launch of a commission to better understand tragedies such as the one in Newtown, Conn., and prevent them from happening again.

"I think we need a national commission on mass violence" in order to ensure that anger and heartbreak are "not lost in legislative gridlock," he said.

Why the Aurora shootings won't likely change the gun control debate

Why the Aurora shootings won't likely change the gun control debate

The shootings in Aurora, Colorado early Friday morning are almost certain to re-stoke the debate over whether more gun control laws are needed, a conversation that has lain near-dormant since early 2011 when former. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) was shot in Arizona.

If history is any guide, however, the Aurora shootings will do little to change public sentiment regarding gun control, which has been moving away from putting more laws on the books for some time.

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