In the wake of a series of mass murders that have plagued the country recently, President Barack Obama today is expected to propose an assault weapons ban, a ban on high-capacity magazines, and increased background checks on gun buyers.
Following the Newtown Massacre in which a lone gunman shot 20 children and six adults before turning the gun on himself, the president vowed to curb gun violence with tougher restrictions. The Newtown shooting came just months after the Aurora movie theater massacre, in which 12 people were killed and 58 wounded and a year after the Tucson shooting in which U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot along with 18 others, including six who died. Each of those massacres were committed with the kind of high-capacity magazines targeted by the president, according to The New York Times.
Some of the proposals that Mr. Obama is expected to make at the White House on Wednesday, which are likely to include a call for expanded background checks, a ban on assault weapons and limits on high-capacity clips, will be intended not only to prevent high-profile mass shootings, but also to curb the more commonplace gun violence that claims many thousands more lives every year.
“The president has made clear that he intends to take a comprehensive approach,” Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said Tuesday. Mr. Carney said the proposals were aimed, broadly, at what he called “the scourge of gun violence in this country.”
In 2011, 6,220 people were killed by handguns, and 323 by rifles, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. So while the administration is expected to try to restrict some types of assault weapons, it is also focusing on ways to keep more commonly used firearms out of the hands of dangerous criminals and people with mental illness.
Orange County’s deadliest mass murder, the Salon Meritage shooting in Seal Beach that killed eight people, was committed with a 9 mm handgun and a .44 magnum revolver, neither of which are the kind of high-capacity weapons used in the Newtown massacre. However, attorneys for the alleged salon gunman, have alluded to his mental illness, hinting that it will play a role in his upcoming death penalty trial.
Has your attitude toward gun control changed in light of the recent massacres? Would you support or oppose the kind of bans and restrictions the president is expected to propose today?