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The gun control test

There are a few reasons why the politics of gun violence have changed dramatically in the last few months – and why, even with Republicans controlling the House, there is a real chance that meaningful gun control legislation will pass in the coming months. The obvious one is Sandy Hook, which gripped and horrified the nation in a way that previous mass shootings didn’t and thrust gun issues back into the national debate. But as it unfolds that debate will be shaped by another new phenomenon: a gun control lobby that has some serious money.

That money comes courtesy of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has been a loud and lonely proponent of stricter gun laws for the past decade. Bloomberg created a super PAC, Independence USA, in the closing weeks of last year’s campaign to advance his gun agenda and a few other pet causes. Neither party wanted to touch guns back then, but now neither can ignore the subject, which has created an opportunity for Bloomberg to exert serious influence with his checkbook.

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