Your comparison is a poor one. Drunk driving has always been illegal, the problem was (as you alluded to) more of a societal wink-wink, nudge-nudge when it came to actually punishing those who got caught. Juries tended to take the "there but for the grace of God go I" and let the drivers off. We can thank organizations like MADD for helping make people aware that those who broke the law needed to be treated as though they broke the law and these changing attitudes also led to the lower thresholds and stronger laws you mentioned.<quoted text>
You might recall that your original statement was that none of the failed to pass gun laws would have stopped the Sandy Hook shooting, and this is certainly true since we can undo the past. But laws are written to curtail future behavior.
Since you brought up automobiles let's look at some of the laws that curtailed future behavior or mitigated damage from auto accidents.
Drunk driving laws were strengthened and blood alcohol threshold has been lowered which has reduced the number of deaths from drunk drives behind the wheel. It is now not only irresponsible to drink and drive, but also socially unacceptable.
Safety features have been added to cars, some voluntary, some mandatory, that have reduced the level of injury and deaths from auto accidents. Did people still die from lack of seat belts, sure, but eventually the majority of those cars were replaced thru attrition.
None of these laws had the slightest impact on events in the past, but all had an impact on events in the future.
And again, the laws that the Left tried to pass by shamelessly using the children of Sandy Hook as political cudgels, would have made NO difference in the Sandy Hook shooting. If you look at the most recent mass shootings, the problem appears to be one of mental health - none of the proposed gun laws have addressed this issue - and given that the current climate prefers to err on the side of the rights of the mentally ill versus the rights of the community,(I am not making a judgement here, simply stating a fact) I don't see that changing anytime soon. But the whole situation of public mass shooting needs to be put in perspective. Even one shooting that kills one victim is a tragedy, but the coverage of each one would make one think we are all in imminent danger of being a victim.
According to a Congressional Research Service Report released a few months ago, the actual number of public mass shootings since 1983 stands at 78 - and those shootings claimed 547 lives. Public mass shootings being defined as: an incident involving four or more deaths and involving a gunman who selects victims somewhat indiscriminately. As precious as each of those lives are, 3 times more Americans have been killed by lightning in that same time period.
As the Daily Beast's Megan McCardle noted in December 2013, "It is beyond horrible to suggest that even a small number of attacks are largely unavoidable. I don't like saying it. Unfortunately, I think it's true." More laws are not going to change that, they will simply make it more difficult for law abiding citizens to "keep and bear arms" while doing nothing about those who are already more than willing to break any laws in order to get whatever firearms they wish to have.