The debate over gun control in the United States has waxed and waned over the years, stirred by a series of mass shootings by gunmen in civilian settings. In particular, the killing of twenty schoolchildren in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012 prompted a new national discussion about gun laws. However, legislation that would have banned semiautomatic assault weapons was defeated in the Senate despite extensive public support. In 2017, mass shootings at a music festival in Las Vegas and at a church near San Antonio have rekindled the gun control debate and invoked comparisons of U.S. gun policies and those of other wealthy democracies.
By Jonathan Masters