Gun violence is a much-debated issue, and the recent San Bernardino shooting has increased concerns. President Obama will hold a Town Hall meeting on Thursday, January 7, at George Mason University to talk about the problem. The program will air on CNN at 8:00 p.m., ET.
Prior to the meeting, Obama will convene with U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Monday to determine what he can do to change current legislation via executive order.
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The Town Hall will be the day before the anniversary of the January 8, 2011, shooting in which Gabrielle Giffords, a Democratic congress woman who represented Arizona, was shot at point-blank range. She survived, has since left Congress, and is now an advocate for stricter gun laws.
Obama’s desire to tighten laws in an effort to prevent gun violence has drawn opposition from the GOP in Congress and is a hotbed topic in Republican presidential campaigns.
The president will use executive power to change existing laws. When he has done this in the past, it has drawn accusations of executive overreach. After the tragic 2013 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school, Obama enacted over 20 executive actions that were used to increase background checks at the federal level and improve gun-safety laws.
President Obama and US Attorney General Loretta Lynch will meet to discuss gun violence https://t.co/GFg8fGHkdn
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Republican candidate Carly Fiorina and others have said Obama’s use of executive orders to quell gun violence is not legal.
“President Obama has been lawless in his use of executive orders, whether those executive orders are around immigration or whether those executive orders are around gun control.”
Obama is considering executive orders to change gun laws, because Congress has not acted on the issue. The orders do not affect major changes, but zero in on smaller-scale gun sellers and tougher background checks for buyers, preventing guns from getting into the hands of potential criminals, terrorists, and mass killers. Yet, the changes will not stop purchasers from buying firearms at gun shows without a check.
After the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre, in Newtown, Connecticut, Obama promised to change existing laws. However, he could not gain enough support to pass new laws from Senate Republicans or Democrats.
NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker stated the president’s failure to pass gun legislation through Congress has led to ignoring the will of the people by issuing executive orders, per Fox News.
“Obama failed to pass his anti-gun agenda through Congress because the majority of Americans oppose more gun-control. Now he is doing what he always does when he doesn’t get his way, which is defy the will of the people and issue an executive order.”
The president stated that Congress has “done nothing” and said decreasing the level of gun violence, for him, is “unfinished business,” added Fox News. Obama also said, “I get too many letters from parents and teachers and kids to sit around and do nothing.”
According to the New York Times, Obama’s national security adviser Ben Rhodes weighed in, stating, “It would be better for our security if it was harder for terrorists to purchase very powerful weapons. At a certain point, violence begets more violence.”
Rhodes explained that terrorists are not usually stopped with a bullet immediately before committing violence, but by counterterrorism tactics. Gun sales surged after the San Bernardino killings, but Rhodes said arming citizens is a “dangerous and slippery slope.”
Gun violence is out of control, and there were 372 mass shootings in the U.S. during 2015, in which 475 were killed and 1,870 wounded.
[Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images]