U.S. News: The Gun Battle in 2013

Updated August 5, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

With shootings on the rise, the fight over guns heats up.

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Early in 2013, President Barack Obama introduced proposals to tighten gun-control laws. The proposals were a response to recent mass shootings, including the killing of 20 first graders in Newtown, Conn. in December 2012, and 12 moviegoers in Aurora, Colo., in July 2012. Obama's plan included universal background checks for gun sales, the reinstatement and strengthening of the assault weapons ban and limiting ammunition magazines to a 10-round capacity.

New Gun Control Legislation Stalls

Despite a strong push by President Obama, gun-control advocates as well as families of the people killed in recent mass shootings, the new proposals stalled in the Senate. Republicans and some Democrats voted against the legislation.

While new gun legislation stalled in Congress, voters in Colorado threw Democrats John Morse and Angela Giron out of office in September for their support of recently enacted gun-control laws that mandate background checks on private gun sales and limit magazine clips to 15 rounds. The election drew national attention not only for the ouster of the officials, but also for the influx of money on both sides, from the National Rifle Association and New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, a gun-control advocate.

Gun Violence Continues

Gun violence and school shootings continued throughout 2013. On September 16, 2013, in Washington, DC, a former Navy reservist Aaron Alexis killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard, near the U.S. Capitol. Alexis, age 34, was then killed in a shootout with police. Alexis had been employed at the base by a military subcontractor. Three days later, 13 people were wounded by gunfire while watching a game of pickup basketball in a Chicago park. One of the people injured was a three-year-old boy.

On October 21, 2013, in Sparks, Nevada, a middle-school student shot and killed Michael Landsberry, a math teacher at Sparks Middle School. The student then shot himself in front of other students. Two days later in Danvers, Mass., Philip Chism, a 14-year-old high school student, was charged with the murder of his 24-year-old teacher, Colleen Ritzer, after her body was found in the woods near the school.

On November 1, 2013, Paul Ciancia, age 23, opened fire at the Los Angeles International Airport. One Transportation Security Administration agent was killed. Several more people were injured. Just three days later, Richard Shoop, age 20, opened fire inside the Westfield Garden State Plaza Mall in New Jersey. He fired his weapon, a modified rifle, at least six times. About 400 people were inside the mall at the time of the shooting, but no injuries were reported. Police ordered a lockdown of the entire mall. Six hours after the shooting, Shoop's body was found. Authorities reported that Shoop was dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. These latest shootings were a sign that, as 2013 came to a close, gun violence in the United States showed no signs of slowing down.

by Jennie Wood
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