Gun Bills Introduced in the First Month in Recent Congresses
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How Did Pacific Standard Track Gun Bills?
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How did I compile the numbers for my story and this spreadsheet? I started by wanting to see if there were any patterns to the gun-related laws passed in the first month of every recent Congress.
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To find relevant bills, I searched GovTrack.us, a website that collects detailed information about bills, using the keywords "ammunition," "firearm," "gun," "Second Amendment," and "weapon." I also checked GovTrack.us' "Firearms and explosives" topic page for every Congress. I read each bill's title and summary, when it was available; skimmed bill texts, when they were available; and classified the bills as gun control, gun rights, supporting gun research or buyback programs, other (for example, a bill putting more resources into intercepting illegally trafficked arms from Mexico), or not relevant. I also called bill sponsors and emailed with experts at universities and the Giffords Law Center, a nonprofit gun-policy organization, to help me classify bills I was unsure about.
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Some of the bills I found seemed as if they were deceptively named. Who would guess that the Hearing Protection Act is about loosening restrictions on firearms silencers, for example?
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It's important to note that appropriations bills and other big bills that aren't primarily about firearms may nevertheless have riders that can have a big effects on gun laws. For example, H.R. 2112, an appropriations act that funded government agencies in 2012, had riders banning the federal government from putting certain firearms sales records in a searchable, online database; from centralizing sales records; and from disclosing gun-trace data to the public. I found it difficult to classify these bills, however, so they aren't in my analysis.
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Click on to the next sheets to see lists of the bills I found and how I classified them.—Francie
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