In a Dec. 18 ruling, the Cincinnati federal court of appeals in the sixth district ruled that a ban on gun ownership for those deemed "mentally defective" violated the constitutional rights of Clifford Charles Tyler, a 73-year-old man from Hillsdale County, Michigan.
The government's interest in keeping firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill is not sufficiently related to depriving the mentally healthy, who had a distant episode of commitment, of their constitutional rights.
– Danny Boggs Judge in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
Judge Danny Boggs, an appointee of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, ruled that the case of Tyler, who in 2011 was prohibited from purchasing a gun after having been institutionalized for less than a month, violated the defendant's Second Amendment rights.
Tyler had been briefly committed to a mental institution in 1986 for emotional distress after a divorce, but because Michigan has declined to set up a "relief from disabilities" program allowing individuals to prove their disabilities no longer disqualified them from gun ownership, he was unable to purchase a gun.
A majority of Americans polled said it is more important to protect gun ownership rights than to regulate it, according to a Pew Research Center survey released Dec. 10. While 52% wanted gun rights, 46% of respondents favored gun regulation. In a Jan. 2013 survey, 45% favored gun rights.
The FBI revealed to the Associated Press that 186,000 gun sales slipped through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) in 2013, at a rate of 512 per day. Under federal law, the NICS must determine a gun buyer's eligibility within three business days after a gun purchase.
As Black Friday looms, FBI data show background checks fail to decide 186,000 gun sales a year
The president signed 23 executive orders on Jan. 16 aimed to strengthen existing laws, enhance mental health measures and boost federal funds for CDC research looking into the causes of violence. The president called on Congress to "restore a ban on military-style assault weapons, and a 10 round limit for magazines."
President Obama’s remarks on new gun control actions, Jan. 16, 2013 (Transcript)
States have moved quickly to enact new gun laws following the Newtown, Conn., shootings, with some tightening and others loosening their controls. New York went first on Jan. 15, enacting some of the toughest gun laws. South Dakota, on the other hand, now allows teachers to carry guns in classrooms.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said May 26, 2014, that federal legislation proposed after the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, but rejected by Congress, could have helped to prevent the May 24 killing spree in Isla Vista, California. Blumenthal said he planned to revisit the measures.
Senator to renew gun control push after California shooting spree
The Senate voted 54-46 in favor of the Manchin-Toomey background check amendment, but that was six votes short of the 60 needed to pass. Families of Newtown, Aurora, Virginia Tech and Tucson mass shooting victims watched the balloting. Both Manchin and Toomey said they remained committed to the bill.
A week after the Newtown shootings, the NRA spoke out. "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," said CEO Wayne LaPierre, on Dec. 21. He chastised the news and entertainment industries and called for every U.S. school to be protected with armed guards. He also wants a database created of the nation's mentally ill.
NRA issues first statement since Newtown massacre - Nation Wires - MiamiHerald.com
GOP senators said Apr. 2 that they would oppose Senate ratification of a UN arms treaty because it would require the U.S. to implement new gun control laws they say infringe the 2nd Amendment. Ratification is necessary for the U.S. to participate in the treaty; it requires a two-thirds Senate majority.
Two 2013 studies concluded that gun violence in the U.S. had dropped sharply. Only 12% of Americans believe the gun-related crime rate is lower than in 1993, while 56% think it's higher, according to the Pew Research Center.
Rate Of U.S. Gun Violence Has Fallen Since 1993, Study Says : NPR
Gun dealers in states along the U.S.-Mexico border must report when customers buy more than one high-powered rifle at a time, a federal appeals court ruled May 31. The ruling stems from a 2011 federal regulation applying to California, Arizona, Texas and New Mexico.