President Barack Obama has come up with his own definition of gun control, and now he’s working to convince America why he’s right in a nationally televised town hall meeting.
He plans to join Anderson Cooper of CNN at George Mason University in Fairfax on Thursday, January 7. There, he’ll take questions from a live audience comprised of many residents from the suburbs of Washington D.C. There will also be representatives from the National Rifle Association, the nation’s most prominent gun-rights organization, in attendance.
Obama will answer questions about the series of new gun control measures he’s trying to pass through Congress that he shared openly on Tuesday while shedding tears and condemning gun violence. Through these new measures, he’s hoping to end with a result of more gun sellers having licenses and more gun buyers undergoing background checks.
It’s no surprise that Republican lawmakers, the more conservative of the two parties, have shut down Obama’s previous attempts to tighten these gun regulations. They’re claiming that the president has actually overstepped his bounds and that these regulations will do very little to stem gun violence as a whole.
America isn’t quite sure how they feel about the issue, however. According to a CNN/ORC poll taken in the middle of December, support was fairly evenly split. Forty-eight percent agree with stricter gun control measures, while 51 percent disagree.
These new gun measures, if they’re passed, will present a momentous change in the current gun laws. In the history of America, there have only been five instances in which major measures like this were enacted successfully. In preparation for the town hall meeting, let’s take a look at some of these measures as outlined by CNN.
1938: Fighting Al Capone Under Roosevelt’s Direction
Exactly 77 years ago from this date, Al Capone was apprehended for his acts as the infamous mob boss. As you may well know, the only charge they could hold him on was tax evasion, but it was still an exciting occasion in the American justice system.
As a direct response to the gun violence from criminals like Al Capone and Bugs Moran, Roosevelt directed new legislation to put stricter controls on machine guns and sawed-off shotguns. A few years later, the National Firearms Act added new restrictions on guns and ammunition trade interstate, requiring more accurate registration and documentation from sellers.
1968: Lyndon B. Johnson Honors the Assassinated
In honor of the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy, LBJ signed a new gun reform law to enact stricter licensing and registration standards. It also required that any felon or anyone with intellectual and developmental disabilities not be sold a gun, all while restricting interstate sales.
1986: Reagan Appeases Both Sides
There was much debate about the Firearm Owner’s Protection Act, but Ronald Reagan eventually signed the new legislation on May 19, 1986. It banned the future sale of fully automatic weapons, like machine guns, for private purchasers.
This piece of legislation marks an important compromise during history because the new legislation also appeased the NRA by forbidding the creation of a firearms database, which made it easier for gun owners to pass through states with different gun laws.
1993: Clinton Begins the Brady Bill
President Bill Clinton signed the Brady Bill in 1993, which called for a five-day waiting period during background checks. The law was named the Brady Bill for James Brady, Reagan’s press secretary who was shot in the head during the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan in 1981. However, this signing was canceled in 1998 when the FBI created its National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
1994: The Presidential Assault Weapons Ban
Bill Clinton was again president during this time, but it was Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter, all ex-presidents, who got the ball rolling on this gun control legislation. They asked for a ban on the manufacture, possession, and sale of certain combat weapons, along with restrictions on ammunition use. The bill is referred to as the Assault Weapons Ban, but it expired in 2004 while George W. Bush was president and hasn’t been renewed.
This is one law that President Obama will no doubt push for with his new legislation. The next major gun control overhaul could very well be seen in 2016.
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