(The Blaze/AP) -- Gun control advocates sputter at their own impotence. The National Rifle Association is politically ascendant. And Barack Obama's White House is reportedly vowing to safeguard the Second Amendment in its first official response to the deaths of at least 12 people in a mass shooting at a new Batman movie screening in suburban Denver.
Once, every highly publicized outbreak of gun violence produced strong calls from Democrats and a few Republicans for tougher controls on firearms.
Now those pleas are muted, a political paradox that's grown more pronounced in an era scarred by Columbine, Virginia Tech, the wounding of a congresswoman and now the shooting in a suburban movie theater where carnage is expected on-screen only.
"We don't want sympathy. We want action," Dan Gross, president of the Brady campaign said Friday as President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney mourned the dead.
Ed Rendell, the former Democratic governor of Pennsylvania, was more emphatic than many in the early hours after the shooting. "Everyone is scared of the NRA," he said on MSNBC. "Number one, there are some things worth losing for in politics and to be able to prevent carnage like this is worth losing for."
Yet it's been more than a decade since gun control advocates had a realistic hope of getting the type of legislation they seek, despite predictions that each shocking outburst of violence would lead to action.
According to a Gallup poll in 1990, 78 percent of those surveyed said laws covering the sale of firearms should be stricter, while 19 percent said they should remain the same or be loosened.
By the fall of 2004 support for tougher laws had dropped to 54 percent. In last year's sounding, 43 percent said they should be stricter, and 55 percent said they should stay the same or be made more lenient.
In terms of electoral politics, Harry Wilson, a Roanoke College professor and author of a book on gun politics, said violent crime has been declining in recent years and, "It becomes increasingly difficult to make the argument that we need stricter gun control laws."
Additionally, he said in some regions, gun control "can be a winning issue for Democrats. But nationally, it's a loser ... and they have figured that out." Attempts to emphasize the issue will "really motivate the opposition. And in a political campaign, nobody wants to do that," he said.
But more than that, Americans have seemingly seen that gun control laws aren't always effective.
Purdue student and Young America's Foundation Intern Scholar Hillary Cherry asks: "How will stricter gun laws bring an end to criminals having guns, when the laws against murder have not been able to stop them from killing innocent people?"
The CNS News article continues:
Currently in Aurora, Colorado, where the shooting took place, it is already unlawful to carry a concealed "dangerous weapon," discharge firearms, unless by law enforcement on duty or on shooting range, and have loaded firearm in motor vehicle.
Yet these laws were unable to stop James Holmes.
Crime rates alone of cities such as Chicago and Washington D.C. prove that gun bans only increase crime. The D.C. police response rate is eight minutes; most crimes are done in less than one. Gun bans create a trouble-free world for criminals considering no one can defend themselves. If I were ever to face a situation like this, I would want to be prepared.
I cannot help but think, if one person in that audience was carrying a gun with them, that person could have saved lives. Unfortunately - despite what some of the Left have said - this tragedy is an example of the importance of our Second Amendment Rights.
In the wake of the Colorado shooting, both Republicans and Democrats have already begun using the tragedy to advance their respective ideologies. In this case, it seems like the "gun control" crowd isn't making much progress.
AP Deputy Director of Polling Jennifer Agiesta and AP writer Jack Gillum contributed to this report.