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Sides split on prospects for new gun laws

Gun-control advocates say the Tucson shootings have altered the political atmosphere surrounding the debate


WASHINGTON — Gun-rights supporters and lawmakers said they expect little change in gun laws following the Tucson shooting spree in which six people were killed.

Despite bills being drafted on background checks, no-gun zones and large-volume magazines for ammunition, gun-rights advocates and congressional members said chances of producing meaningful legislation were small, The New York Times reported Friday.

The Crossroads of the West gun show will go on as planned this weekend at the Pima County Fairgrounds, 13 miles from the Saturday shooting site, and another gun show is scheduled for the next weekend, officials said.

“We had no hesitation about going ahead with the show so soon after the incident,” Arizona Arms Association Secretary Lois Chedsey said. “Gun sales have been up since last Saturday.”

In Las Vegas, Shot Show, which bills itself as the country’s largest exhibition of guns and ammunition, is to go on as scheduled next weekend.

On the other side, gun-control advocates say the Tucson shootings — which also left 13 people injured, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., — have altered the political atmosphere, the Times reported.

“I really do believe that this time it could be different,” said Paul Helmke, executive director of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

But lawmakers told the Times that any change, no matter how modest, is unlikely.

Rep. Peter T. King, R-N.Y., said since he proposed a bill that would ban having a firearm within 1,000 feet of a congressional member his office had received “100 calls an hour from people who think I am trying to take away their Second Amendment rights.”

Copyright 2011 U.P.I.