One month after the elementary school massacre at Newtown, Conn., more than three-fourths of the states have no plans to weigh new firearms restrictions this year, and six states are considering loosening restrictions, a USA TODAY-Gannett survey of governors and legislators found.
Eleven states are considering new gun laws as legislatures gather at the start of the year. Most of them are in the Northeast and Pacific coast, where some of the strongest gun-control measures are already in place, and in Connecticut and Colorado, scene of horrific mass murders last year. All are blue states that tend to vote for Democrats.
Thirty-nine states are not considering new gun restrictions, in some cases because they say they already have tough controls on the books.
On Monday, Vice President Biden gave President Obama recommendations from his task force on gun violence created in the aftermath of the tragedy in Newtown. Obama said he would push for better background checks for gun buyers and limits on the size of ammunition magazines.
Some governors and legislative leaders, particularly in conservative states where support for gun rights is high, say they are focusing on better school-safety or mental-health programs rather than new gun limits.
Eight states, all with Republican governors, are targeting school safety: Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia, Texas and South Dakota. At least three of those - Texas, Virginia and South Dakota - are weighing proposals for enhancing armed security at schools.
Lawmakers plan to take up mental-health proposals in seven states: Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah and Virginia.
At least six states - Arizona, South Dakota, Kansas, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming - face proposals to loosen restrictions on guns in line with gun rights advocates such as the National Rifle Association that say more access to weapons as self defense is the solution to gun violence.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, last week called for enacting the "toughest assault weapon ban in the nation.'' It includes a ban on magazines that hold more than 10 bullets, background checks for all private gun sales and tougher penalties for illegally possessing a firearm.
His plan is being warmly received in the state capital, among Democrats, the majority, and Republicans. State Senate Republican Conference leader Dean Selos said GOP lawmakers back limits on magazine size and tougher penalties for illegal guns.
Colorado Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper last week called for background checks for all gun purchases.
Connecticut Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy, supports a ban on large-capacity magazines, spokesman Andrew Doba said. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has called for a conversation about guns and violence.
Other states weighing new restrictions: California, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon and Rhode Island.
William M. Welch, USA TODAY