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Political Future of Gun Laws

Michael Saechang

For groups trying to affect firearms policy, what are their priorities, challenges, strategies for the future? Where is money and lobbying efforts going? What do Americans think about access to guns, and what do those view say about their own politics? In this River to River program as part of our continuing Guns in Iowa series, host Ben Kieffer gets two looks at the national gun debate.  

First, Mark Kelly co-founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions, retired NASA astronaut and husband of Representative Gabriel Giffords talks about his group's effort to change policy. Kelly says that his group does a good job of communicating the realities of the issue

"You can just look around the country and see the states that have the highest gun violence have the weakest gun laws."

Lawrence Keane, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at National Shooting Sports Foundation says there is common ground with gun control advocates.  He says that concept of  having background checks at retail before firearms purchases was conceived of by the firearms industry before the Brady Bill was enacted. 


He also says that the two groups agree that certain people should not have access to guns.

"We're making sure, for example, that the records are put into the background check system so that people  can't purchase firearms  at retail from a dealer if they are not permitted to have them."

In the second half of the program, Associate Director for social trends research at Pew Research Juliana Horowitz talks about new research.  

The survey shows that most American says they have shot a gun at some point in their lives, but more Americans do not live in a house where there are guns.

The survey also reveals that among gun owners, there are differences about gun policy between Democrats and Republicans.

To end the program we examine how money is used in campaigns with Chris Larimer, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Northern Iowa. 

Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River