Grassroots Change
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Violence Prevention: How California Beat the Gun Lobby

March 5, 2014

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Gun control advocates have been fighting for stronger federal laws for decades, with very limited success. The failure to pass moderate background check bills in the US Senate and the recall of legislators who supported Colorado’s tougher gun laws, even in the face of tragedy, exemplify many experts’ belief that it’s nearly impossible to win against the powerful gun lobby.

But a small handful of states, including California, have been successful in enacting major gun laws that have saved lives. After multiple mass shootings, gun control advocates in that state began building an effective grassroots movement to counter the gun lobby. Since the mid-1990s, California has passed the strongest state and local gun laws in the country.

An interactive timeline, California’s gun control movement: Anatomy of a successful movement, shows you how it happened – with lessons for advocates working in other states and on different issues.