Steve Chapman appears to have all his facts correct but overlooks what I think are the most important points. Yes, all the gun control laws failed to make people safer. Yes, shall issue concealed carry laws did no harm. Yes, legal scholars concluded the NRA was right all along. But that isn’t what made the difference. Facts and reason have never been the most significant factors in politics.
What made the difference was the gun grabbers getting their asses handed to them in elections. It started with the 1994 national election a month and a half after the so called “assault weapon ban” was passed and was sealed when Al Gore lost his home state in the 2000 election. From there it was still a fierce battle but astute observers on both sides could see, baring some major upset, who was going to win. September 11, 2001 came and both sides tried to take advantage of the event. Gun owners came out on top. The next major event, hurricane Katrina, proved such a disaster for the gun grabbers that there was no doubt which side had the momentum.
Another significant factor was the militia movement in the mid 1990s. It faded away in the late 90s when the ballot box appeared to be having the desired results. The politicians realized gun owners were preparing for war and dialed down their hate filled rhetoric. If the soap box and ballot box didn’t work the cartridge box was being readied for use. They heard the whispers from the gun ranges, gun shows and any other place where gun owners gathered. The shout of defiance had changed even though Heston still used the old one. And the new one was not said from the podium with the television cameras running. It was a deep growl which could only be heard if you were standing close enough. But the politicians got the gist of it anyway, “You can have my gun when you reanimate Your Cold. Dead. Hands.”