"Arizona's response [to the shooting] – the most likely legislative response – is going to be expanded gun rights," writes Slate's David Weigel, noting that gun rights remains a top priority for a fresh batch of tea party conservatives elected to the Republican-led legislature in November.
In a country that, on the national level, hasn't passed a major gun-control law since the assault-weapons ban in 1993, gun rights have been steadily expanding by judicial decree as well as state and national law. In 2009, President Obama, who campaigned on a promise to reinstate the assault-weapons ban, signed laws allowing gun owners to carry their weapons in national parks and on Amtrak trains.
Politicians are likely taking cues from the public. A Gallup poll in October found that 44 percent of Americans believe firearm sale regulations should be stricter, a record low response to that question. A USA Today poll taken after the Arizona shooting showed that only 1 in 5 respondents believe stricter gun control laws would have prevented the shooting.