Until December 14, 2012, any debates over assault weapons and gun rights had been drowned out by other issues, a heated election and a slow economic recovery reducing the gun issue to background noise. Even when Mitt Romney and President Obama debated in Denver, Colorado, just nine miles from Aurora, Colorado where, earlier in the year a gunman opened fire on a movie theater full of people, neither candidate brought up gun control. But that changed that cold December Friday when a gunman allegedly killed his mother and then fought his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut where he shot and killed 26 more people, 20 of them children. Since that, gun control has been - with the exception of the "fiscal cliff" crisis - at the forefront of political discourse.
But this latest incarnation of the gun debate is happening on multiple levels. Chicago is coming off of particularly bloody year, topping 500 total murders for only the second time in 10 years. And just days before the Newtown shooting, an appeals court over-turned the state of Illinois' concealed carry ban.
As President Obama prepares to unveil his new plan for curbing gun violence later today, we take a look back at the story of this latest surge in gun control over the last month. (For more info, check out Max Rust's graphs.)
The City of Chicago
Dec. 18, 2012: Mayor Rahm Emanuel defends Pres. Obama's stance on guns.
Dec. 20, 2012: Mayor Emanuel and a host of other local mayors call for action to curb gun violence.
Dec. 27, 2012: Chicago records its 500th murder of the year
Dec. 31, 2012: Parents join call for tougher gun control laws
Jan.1, 2013: As violent 2012 comes to a close, CPD reports 506 murders for the year
Jan. 9, 2013: A student at Marsh Elementary School is charged after bring a .22 revolver, 33 bullets, and a 3-inch knife to school.
Jan. 10, 2013: Mayor Emanuel promises to pursue new gun control for city
Jan 11, 2013: Durbin, McCarthy meet to work on gun violence solution
Jan. 12, 2013: Cook Co. Board President Toni Preckwinkle joins forces with Mayor Emanuel
Jan. 14, 2013: Mayor Emanuel says he wants Chicago pension funds to divest if own gun investments
Jan. 15, 2013: 2013 opens on bloody note, recording at least 24 homicides in the first 15 days, 21 of those shootings.
The State of Illinois
Dec. 5, 2012: State Sen. Donne Trotter is charged for trying to carry a concealed weapon through a checkpoint at O'Hare.
Dec. 11, 2012: A federal appeals court overturns Illinois' concealed weapons ban
Dec. 29, 2012: State Sen. Trotter, previously a candidate for the Congressional seat vacated by Jesse Jackson, Jr., drops out of the race but declines to blame his gun arrest.
Jan. 6, 2013: State legislature ends lame-duck session without voting on new gun control measures.
Jan. 8, 2013: Gun violence becomes a key issue in the race for the Congressional seat vacated by Jesse Jackson, Jr.
Across The Nation
Dec. 14, 2012: 27 people - 20 of them young schoolchildren - are killed during a mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. The alleged gunman also dies when he kills himself.
Dec. 16, 2012: A man is arrested after allegedly firing off 20 rounds in a California mall parking lot.
Dec. 19, 2012: Pres. Obama appoints Vice President Joe Biden to head task force that will propose new gun control legislation
Dec. 21, 2012: NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre gives a disjointed, heavily pro-gun press conference
Dec. 21, 2012: The newest gun control debate picks up steam
Dec. 22, 2012: One New York newspaper caused an outcry when it published a map showing the addresses of all registered gun permit holders. (It's been blamed for at least one burglary.) On January 8, 2013, popular news and gossip blog Gawker published a similar list for gun owners in New York City to great controversy.
January 2013: Towns across the nation, including in Pennsylvania, Alabama, and New Jersey, put armed guards in schools as a result of the Newtown shootings.
Jan. 9, 2013: VP Biden meets with the NRA to discuss new gun law proposals
Jan. 10, 2013: One student is injured in a shooting at a California High School.
Jan. 11, 2013: Members of the far right stoke hysteria over gun rights
Jan. 11, 2013: A judge rules James Holmes, the suspect in the July 2012 Aurora, CO mass shooting, will stand trial on all counts against him.
Jan. 14. 2013: Where each state stands on gun control
Jan. 14, 2013: Pres. Obama endorses bans on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines
Jan. 14, 2013: Delaware begins looking into new gun control laws.
Jan. 15, 2013: New York becomes the first state to approve new gun control legislation, the first state to do so since the Newtown shootings
Jan. 15, 2013: Pres. Obama prepares to present his new package of gun laws
Jan. 15, 2013: On the eve of Pres. Obama's announcement, there are at least two shootings at university locations.
Jan. 15, 2013: The NRA releases an ad calling Pres. Obama an "elitist hypocrite" due to the armed protection for his daughters.