Updated Mar 1, 2018 - Politics & Policy

The long odds against gun legislation in Congress

Of the more than 360 access-related gun bills proposed by Congress since the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, only one has become law, according to an Axios analysis of congressional bill data from ProPublica.

Data: Analysis of bills from ProPublica Congress API as of Feb. 19, 2018. Get the data.
Data: Analysis of bills from ProPublica Congress API as of Feb. 19, 2018. Get the data.

Why it matters: Although the overwhelming majority of all bills don't become law, it's a reality check on the odds ahead if Congress takes up gun legislation to respond to the tragedy in Parkland. Lawmakers regularly propose gun control and gun rights legislation after a high-profile shooting, but it's rare for them to go anywhere.

The only bill to become law, the Federal Law Enforcement Self-Defense and Protection Act of 2015, declares that a federal law enforcement official is allowed to carry federally-issued firearms during a furlough.

Of interest:

  • 87% of gun control bills were introduced by Democrats, and 98% of gun rights bills by Republicans.
  • One of the bills, sponsored by Brian Fitzpatrick, deals with bump stocks. Trump said on Wednesday that he would ban bump stocks in an executive order.
  • 28 of these bills include provisions about mental health and mental wellness in regards to firearms.

Our methodology: We searched the ProPublica Congress API for bills from the 113th Congress until Feb. 19, 2018 that included the words gun, firearm, handgun, rifle, shotgun, 2nd Amendment, assault weapon, and ammunition. After removing bills that didn't directly deal with domestic gun access, we used summaries and text to classify as either gun control, gun rights, or a mix of the two ideologies.

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