TODAY | February 12, 2013
>>> gun violence in america , something we expect to hear a lot about during tonight's state of the union address . special correspondent tom brokaw is in los angeles with more on this. good morning, tom.
>> good morning, matt. in tone and in content, this gun control debate is hard ly uniform across the country. here in the american west , gun owners are organized and they're really speaking out, matt. gun control is a particularly tough issue for democratic senators in western states . however much they may want to vote for new restrictions, the gun owners back home, who have passed down guns generation to generation and for whom hunting is a way of life , they're pushing back, hard.
>> senator michael bennett 's office. i'll be sure to let the senator know.
>> i can definitely let the senator know your comments about this.
>> reporter: take a look at this map. each of these states has one or more democratic senators, lots of guns and lots of fear that any controls will lead to a government con physicfconfiscation of all private firearms. senator john tester .
>> it's part of growing up, it's part of our culture.
>> reporter: he says it's issue one for his constituents. they worry more about big government than too many guns. they just don't trust the government?
>> i think there's a fair number like that. i don't think all by any stretch of the imagination, but there's a fair number of folks out there, when it comes to guns, that are concerned that any sort of ban is the first step to a bigger ban.
>> reporter: in montana, five local sheriffs say they will not enforce a ban on assault weapons if passed by the federal government . in new mexico, there's a heated debate in the state legislature about whether there should be background checks for private gun sales and in south dakota , democratic senator tim johnson says the state should have their own local gun control laws. one size, he says, does not fit all.
>> how may i help you? i definitely will see if i can get a response.
>> i will share that with senator bennett .
>> reporter: in michael bennett bennett 's office, the phone rings nonstop. some of the most dramatic changes in gun laws are being proposed in bennett 's state of colorado , where two of the worst mass shootings took place, columbine and aurora. colorado democratic lawmakers want to hold manufacturers of assault weapons liable for deaths or injuries caused by those kinds of guns. matt, almost everyone has something to say about guns, obviously, in this country. in the gun-bearing states it does seem, at the moment at least, that those who own guns are the best organized and they have the most to say at the moment. and they're putting a lot of political pressure, especially on their democratic representatives, matt.
>> tom, i want to remind people, they can see more of our network
wide coverage "flash point: guns in america" all this