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The Year Since Newtown: How Hopes for Reform Rose and Fell


December 14, 2012

AP Photo/Newtown Bee, Shannon Hicks, File

Twenty children and six educators are shot dead in a matter of minutes by Adam Lanza, a 20-year-old wielding a Bushmaster .223, an AR-15 military-style semi-automatic rifle.

December 16, 2012

Alex Wong/Getty Images

In Newtown, President Obama gives an emotional speech promising action. “We can't tolerate this anymore. We are not doing enough and we will have to change.”

December 21, 2012

NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre gives a rambling press conference calling for armed guards at schools. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

December, 2012

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Gun sales surge in anticipation of new restrictions, causing shortages of rifles like the one used at Sandy Hook. “I’ve never seen shelves so bare,” says one gun-rights defender.

January 15, 2013

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

New York passes strict new gun regulations, the first of several states to do so. “I say to you, forget the extremists!” says Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “End this madness—now!”

Spring 2013

Alex Wong/Getty Images News

In Washington, the White House and gun-control groups coalesce behind a relatively limited proposal by West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin to expand background checks on gun buyers.

April 17, 2013

The Manchin bill wins support of eight senators with A-ratings from the NRA—but falls five votes short of a filibuster-proof majority. A “shameful day for Washington,” says Obama.

April 30, 2013

Several senators who blocked the bill face a backlash back home. In New Hampshire, Republican Kelly Ayotte is confronted by the daughter of the slain Sandy Hook principal.

Summer 2013

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Senators vow to push for new vote in mid-summer after Congress votes on immigration reform. But that issue bogs down in the House. Soon, the government shutdown takes center stage.

September 10, 2013

AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Colorado voters recall two state senators who had backed new gun restrictions in a low-turnout election that is nonetheless taken as ominous harbinger for the gun-control side.  

September 16, 2013

Handout/Getty Images News

A mentally disturbed government contractor enters the Washington Navy Yard and kills 13 people. It was the 16th shooting with four or more victims since the Newtown massacre.

September 18, 2013


Following a vigorous grassroots battle between activists, Starbucks announces that it is discouraging gun owners from openly carrying firearms into its shops.

October 25, 2013

AP/Jessica Hill

Newtown commences the demolition of Sandy Hook Elementary School.

November 4, 2013

NRA-Political Victory Fund

Terry McAuliffe wins election as governor of Virginia, home of the NRA’s headquarters, despite boasting openly of his F rating from the organization. Pundits do not see this as an indication of any change in the gun lobby's influence.

November 9, 2013


A large group of armed “open carry” protesters congregate outside a restaurant near Dallas where a few members of gun control group Moms Demand Action are meeting to strategize.

November 25, 2013

Handout/Getty Images News

A police investigation reports that Adam Lanza barely left his bedroom, covered its windows with trash bags and obsessed over mass shootings. But it offers no “conclusive” motive.

December 2013

As the anniversary neared, Newtown officials pleaded for privacy and some Republicans and commentators accused gun control advocates of politicizing the event. Activists released a chilling ad ad titled "No More Silence."