Handguns are seen for sale in a display case at Metro Shooting Supplies in Bridgeton, Missouri, November 13, 2014. Reuters/Jim Young
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After years of thwarted efforts to tighten restrictions on firearms, gun control activists are heralding the 2016 elections as a watershed moment.And two virtually back-to-back mass shootings – with 14 people shot dead Wednesday in San Bernardino, California, just five days after a gunman killed three people in Colorado – could be expected to help create a perfect storm for gun control advocates to help elect like-minded candidates at the national, state and local level. Even some gun control advocates concede any real change in gun laws is unlikely.Thursday, just one day after the shooting, Senate Democrats who tried to force a vote on an effort to increase background checks on gun buyers met with such intense Republican opposition that the measure never made it to the floor.Efforts to pass gun laws have been met with passionate opposition from gun owners, who are quickly mobilized by the National Rifle Association, even after previous tragedies like the 1999 Columbine High School shooting that killed 13 people.Republican presidential candidates and the NRA remain vocal about gun rights.
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