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Federal gun laws unlikely to change

WASHINGTON -- Federal gun-control proposals may accelerate after the Tucson massacre in which an Arizona congresswoman was seriously injured, but they will still face high legal and legislative hurdles.

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WASHINGTON -- Federal gun-control proposals may accelerate after the Tucson massacre in which an Arizona congresswoman was seriously injured, but they will still face high legal and legislative hurdles.

With Republicans controlling the House of Representatives and a Supreme Court majority embracing Second Amendment rights, significant new congressional action appears unlikely. At most, lawmakers may try to pick around the edges.

"I think the odds of something passing the House of Representatives are very, very slender," said David Kopel, research director with the Colorado-based Independence Institute.

Some lawmakers, for instance, have suggested banning large gun magazine cartridges. Kopel, who also teaches law at the University of Denver, said the idea would face resistance from gun rights groups.

Gun control efforts were a hard sell even before Republicans regained House control this year. But this can't be reduced to a simple of matter of gun lobbyists thwarting the public will. When it comes to guns, the public itself seems split.

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Gallup polls consistently show that about 4 in 10 Americans report owning guns. Other polls show Americans are about equally divided between those who want stricter gun laws and those who want to keep gun laws as they are.

The status quo, in other words, has a lot of defenders on and off Capitol Hill.

Lawmakers in May 2009, for instance, reintroduced a loophole-closing bill requiring background checks of people who buy firearms at gun shows. The bill vanished without a trace, as similar bills have done for many years.

Related Topics: CRIME
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