This is a nice informative article by the Washington Post.
Jaime Fuller lists eleven things that have changed since the Brady Bill. Unfortunately, she frequently describes the past or present conditions, but not both. That makes it difficult to gauge the degree of change.
1. When gun policy gets passed, it’s usually about loosening gun restrictions, not tightening them.
She points out that in the last two years most law changes have loosened restrictions. It’s worth pointing out that CCW laws have been loosening for most of that period.
2. 242 members of the House had an “A rating” from the National Rifle Association in December 2012.
Is this an increase?
3. In 2013, a plan to expand background checks failed.
Extending background checks will continue to be an issue. The extensions typically mentioned are to gun shows and internet sales. Some have pointed to a 2001 survey of offenders in which only 2% of offenders claimed to have purchased a gun from a flea market or gun show and 80% obtained firearms from “family, friends, a street buy, or an illegal source”. Constitutional issues aside, requiring a background check for sales in gun shows, the internet or personal transfers does not strike me as overly burdensome if there were a secure method for instantaneously performing background checks.
4. In 1998, gun violence was seen as the most pressing issue in the country, according to a Gallup survey.
As the article points out, right now only 1% see it as the most pressing issue.
5. Opinions of the National Rifle Association are about the same as they were 20 years ago.
This violates the title of the article, but as the accompanying figure shows, it was waxed and waned over time but it is about the same.
6. In the 1993-1994 election cycle, the NRA spent $2.3 million.
The article points out that in 2011/2012 it was $24.8 million.
7. New gun-control groups are starting to spend big money, too.
The article points out how much is being spent now, but not historically.
8. In 1993, 34 percent of Americans thought it was more important to protect the right to own guns than control gun ownership.
The accompanying text and figure shows that it’s now 48%.
9. Firearm homicides reached a peak of 17,075 in 1993.
The article points out that the 2010 number (the most recently available figure from the CDC) is 11,078. While homicides overall have fallen over the last 20 years, most of the decline comes from the decline in firearm-related homicides. It’s possible that background checks are one part of the reason.
10. In October 2011, 47 percent of Americans said they had a gun in the home — the highest number since 1993.
As the accompanying figure shows, this is about the same share as in 1991. That is partially due to a big bump up from 41 to 47 in the final year.
11. Things that didn’t exist in 1994 that politicians have to think about now: online gun sales, 3-D printing and smart guns.
Online gun sales are a potential concern because of the lack of background checks. While sales through bulletin boards, etc. have existed for some time, we can assume that sales through internet are easier and thus there are likely more of them.
Smart guns are nothing more than over-priced toys and vaporware at this point, but they one day might have some use. However, it’s worth pointing out that a survey of battered women thought that smart guns would actually make their situation worse. Presumably this would occur because a batterer could deny access to a battered woman.
3-D printing of receivers isn’t a problem if they are made out of plastic. If 3-D printing using metal becomes common, it may become more difficult to prevent the manufacture of parts the create fully-automatic weapons.