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When President Obama took office, gun rights advocates sounded the alarm, warning that he intended to strip them of their arms and ammunition.

And yet the opposite is happening. Mr. Obama has been largely silent on the issue while states are engaged in a new and largely successful push for expanded gun rights, even passing measures that have been rejected in the past.

In Virginia, the General Assembly approved a bill last week that allows people to carry concealed weapons in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, and the House of Delegates voted to repeal a 17-year-old ban on buying more than one handgun a month. The actions came less than three years after the shootings at Virginia Tech that claimed 33 lives and prompted a major national push for increased gun control.

Arizona and Wyoming lawmakers are considering nearly a half dozen pro-gun measures, including one that would allow residents to carry concealed weapons without a permit. And lawmakers in Montana and Tennessee passed measures last year — the first of their kind — to exempt their states from federal regulation of firearms and ammunition that are made, sold and used in state. Similar bills have been proposed in at least three other states.

Assault weapons ban
In the meantime, gun control advocates say, Mr. Obama has failed to deliver on campaign promises to close a loophole that allows unlicensed dealers at gun shows to sell firearms without background checks; to revive the assault weapons ban; and to push states to release data about guns used in crimes.

He also signed bills last year allowing guns to be carried in national parks and in luggage on Amtrak trains.

“We expected a very different picture at this stage,” said Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a gun control group that last month issued a report card failing the administration in all seven of the group’s major indicators.

Gun control advocates have had some successes recently, Mr. Helmke said. Proposed bills to allow students to carry guns on college campuses have been blocked in the 20 or so states where they have been proposed since the Virginia Tech shootings. Last year, New Jersey limited gun purchases to one a month, a law similar to the one Virginia may revoke.

But recent setbacks to gun control have been many.

Last month, the Indiana legislature passed bills that block private employers from forbidding workers to keep firearms in their vehicles on company property.

Gun rights supporters also showed their strength last year by blocking legislation to give District of Columbia residents a full vote in Congress by attaching an amendment to repeal Washington’s ban on handguns.

Read the rest of Ian Urbina’s article at MSBNC via The New York Times.

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