The school shootings have combined "to create the worst possible climate for the gun industry," says Time senior writer Adam Cohen. In the House, Republican leaders have finally sensed the political damage that Democrats have inflicted on a party slow to pick up on the rising tide of public resentment. Though GOP leaders do not want to embrace gun control in a rush -- they donít want a vote until mid-June -- "a decision has apparently been made at the top to get on board," says TIME congressional correspondent Jay Carney. Meanwhile, the gun industry is faced with both legal and financial hurdles in dealing with the suits against it (others have already been filed in several cities, including Chicago and Miami). "The defense of such lawsuits will be very expensive," says Cohen, "and the gun industry is not as wealthy as the tobacco industry." As a result, he says, "expect more of a compromising approach from the gun industry" as the legal broadside heats up.
If there was ever any doubt that Littleton and Conyers have changed the dynamics of the national debate over guns, two developments on Tuesday underscored the point. First, the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives came out publicly in support of the recent gun control measures passed by the Senate last week; and, second, a group of California cities, led by Los Angeles and San Francisco, filed a major set of lawsuits against gun manufacturers, charging that sloppy business practices have irresponsibly given criminals easy access to guns.