The December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn. immediately ignited a debate about gun control and Second Amendment issues in the United States. According to Advertising Age, the amount of money spent on gun control television advertisements since the tragedy occurred has surged, with gun control groups advertising spendings surpassing $14 million. Gun-rights organizations, on the other hand, spent $1.9 million on advertising throughout the previous year. The study also notes that Second Amendment rights groups spent $6.2 million on lobbying politicians as opposed to advertising.
Despite all of the money being spend on both sides of the agenda, a new CNN poll reported that support for stricter gun control has decreased in the year following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. According to the media outlet’s survey, 55% of Americans supported stricter laws in the weeks immediately following the shooting, compared to 49% now.
Support for gun control seems to be fading even as school shootings appear to be more commonplace. The recent school shooting in Colorado was little but a blip on the media radar. A new gun control ad, released in conjunction with the anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and the relative lack of discussion surrounding the issue, consists of a mostly silent soundtrack and images of the shooting before displaying text that reads “But with 26 more school shootings since that day, ask yourself: is silence what America needs right now?”
It appears as if silence on both sides of the issue is what is continuing to happen, at least on the advertising side of the debate. With New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s term ending at the end of the year, he has pledged to dump millions into pro-gun control causes and advertisements nationwide. As is the case with any hotly-debated issue, a similarly wealthy individual or group on the other side of the equation is likely to dump their own money towards influencing legislation and public opinion.