The passionate debate on gun control came to a head recently, with President Obama harshly criticizing Congress for shooting down a plan for gun control.
Gun control advocates brought families from Newtown, Connecticut, to the Capitol, along with photographs and heart-wrenching stories of slain children. But after much debate on either side, gun control failed. But the issue hasn’t gone away, nor will it likely go away any time soon.
On one side, gun control rights supporters argue that the emotions following such tragedies as the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting, the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting or the Tucson, Arizona shooting at a meet-and-greet with U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords result in misguided views on gun control and policies that make it difficult for law-abiding Americans to legally possess a firearm. The National Rifle Association takes it one step further by saying that the nation should now be focused on protecting its schools with firearms.
The Obama administration, on the other hand, along with gun control advocates across the country, fought for a number of changes to our current gun laws. Obama’s plan included:
- Extending federal background checks to cover nearly all gun sales
- Enacting a ban on some models of semi-automatic rifles (“assault weapons”)
- Enacting a ban on ammunition clips with more than 10 rounds
- Providing monies for schools to add counselors, psychologists, and police officers
- Providing better access to mental health care
Further, he encouraged states to provide more data when submitting data to the federal background check system, and he wanted government agencies to devote more time and attention to studying the causes of prevention of gun violence.
The Senate shot down the majority of Obama’s plan, including the ban on assault weapons and ammunition magazines with more than 10 rounds. Obama and his supporters have vowed not to stop fighting; but it seems that, for now, the gun control debate has been quelled.
According to a 2009 Congressional Research Service study, about 310 million guns were either owned for available for sale in the United States in 2009, including 110 million rifles, 114 handguns, and 86 million shotguns.