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Gun control after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting

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Gun control after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting

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Gun control after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting refers to a series of gun laws proposed in the Wikipedia:United States at the federal and state levels after the Wikipedia:Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The shooting renewed debate about Wikipedia:gun control. The debates focused on requiring background checks on all firearm sales (called universal background checks), and on passing new and expanded Wikipedia:assault weapon and Wikipedia:high-capacity magazine bans.

BackgroundEdit

In the massacre, 20 children and 6 adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Wikipedia:Newtown, Connecticut.[1] It was the deadliest primary or secondary Wikipedia:school shooting,[2] the second-deadliest Wikipedia:mass shooting by a single person,[3] and one of the 25 deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history.[4]

Initial responseEdit

Main article: Wikipedia:Reactions to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting

Within hours of the shooting, a We the People user started a petition asking the Wikipedia:White House to "immediately address the issue of gun control through the introduction of legislation in Congress."[5][6] That afternoon, President Wikipedia:Barack Obama made a televised statement offering condolences on behalf of the nation to Connecticut governor, Wikipedia:Dannel Malloy and saying, "we're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics."[7] Speaking at a December 16 memorial service in Newtown, Obama said he would "use whatever power this office holds" to prevent similar tragedies.[8] By December 17, the White House petition had more than 150,000 signatures,[6] and one week after the shooting it had almost 200,000, along with those on 30 similar petitions.[9]

A Wikipedia:USA Today/Gallup poll conducted days after the shooting showed that public support for strengthening gun laws rose 15 percent compared to a similar poll in 2011. A law requiring background checks for all gun-show sales was favored by 92 percent of Americans, and a law banning the sale and possession of Wikipedia:high-capacity magazines (defined by the poll as those capable of holding more than 10 rounds) was supported by 62 percent of Americans. A record-high 74 percent opposed a ban on handguns, and 51 percent opposed banning assault weapons.[10][11]

White House actionsEdit

On December 19, 2012, Obama announced the formation of an interagency gun-violence task force headed by Vice President Wikipedia:Joe Biden.[12] The task force held 22 meetings and collected ideas from 229 organizations. From the beginning, it was clear that Obama would support universal background checks and bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. The task force was more about building a diverse coalition to lobby Congress.[13]

NRA lobbyist Wikipedia:James Baker told Biden that the organization opposed an assault weapons ban and limitations on magazine capacity because such restrictions do not work and that they violate the Second Amendment. The NRA and congressional Republicans said that violent video games were a large part of the problem, but those did not end up on the final list of recommendations.[13] After meeting with Biden, the NRA issued a statement saying that it was "disappointed with how little this meeting had to do with keeping our children safe and how much it had to do with an agenda to attack the Second Amendment."[14]

On January 16, 2013, Obama announced a plan for reducing gun violence in four parts: closing background check loopholes; banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines; making schools safer; and increasing access to mental health services.[15][16]Template:Rp The plan included 23 executive orders, signed immediately by the president, and 12 proposals for Congress.[17]

The executive orders signed by Obama were these:[18]

  • Issuing a presidential memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the Wikipedia:National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
  • Addressing unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Wikipedia:Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), that may prevent states from making information available to NICS.
  • Improving incentives for states to share information with NICS.
  • Directing the attorney general to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.
  • Proposing a rule making to give law enforcement authorities the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.
  • Publishing a letter from the Wikipedia:Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.
  • Starting a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.
  • Reviewing safety standards for gun locks and Wikipedia:gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).
  • Issuing a presidential memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
  • Releasing a report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and making it widely available to law enforcement authorities.
  • Nominating an ATF director.
  • Providing law enforcement authorities, first responders and school officials with proper training for armed attacks situations.
  • Maximizing enforcement efforts to prevent Wikipedia:gun violence and prosecute gun crime.
  • Issuing a presidential memorandum directing the Wikipedia:Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to research gun violence.
  • Directing the attorney general to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenging the private sector to develop innovative technologies.
  • Clarify that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.
  • Releasing a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.
  • Providing incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.
  • Developing model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship, and institutions of higher education.
  • Releasing a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Wikipedia:Medicaid plans must cover.
  • Finalizing regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within insurance exchanges.
  • Committing to finalizing mental health parity regulations.
  • Starting a national dialogue on mental health led by Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, and Arne Duncan, the secretary of education.

The White House's proposed congressional actions were these:[18]

  • Requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales, including those by private sellers that currently are exempt.
  • Reinstating and strengthening the federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 (AWB 1994) that expired in 2004.
  • Limiting ammunition magazines to 10 rounds.
  • Banning the possession of armor-piercing bullets by anyone other than members of the military and law enforcement.
  • Increasing criminal penalties for "straw purchasers" who pass the required background check to buy a gun on behalf of someone else.
  • Acting on a $4 billion administration proposal to help keep 15,000 police officers on the street.
  • Confirming President Obama's nominee for director of the (ATF).
  • Eliminating a restriction that requires the ATF to allow the importation of weapons that are more than 50 years old.
  • Financing programs to train more police officers, first responders and school officials on how to respond to active armed attacks.
  • Provide additional $20 million to help expand the system that tracks violent deaths across the nation from 18 states to 50 states.
  • Providing $30 million in grants to states to help schools develop emergency response plans.
  • Providing financing to expand mental health programs for young people.

The proposals were opposed by the NRA and the Wikipedia:National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF),[19] and opposition was expected by Republican and some Democrat legislators.[17][20]

National Rifle Association proposalEdit

On December 21, 2012 - between the formation of Biden's task force and the announcement of Obama's proposals - Wikipedia:Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the Wikipedia:National Rifle Association (NRA), expressed the gun-rights group's sympathy for the families of Newtown. LaPierre said that gun-free school zones attract killers, and that "the media demonize lawful gun owners, amplify their cries for more laws, and fill the national media with misinformation and dishonest thinking that only delay meaningful action." He said, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," and that debating legislation that won't work would be a waste of time. He called on Congress "to act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation" so that every school in America would be safe when pupils returned to school in January 2013. LaPierre announced that the NRA would develop a National Model School Shield Program for every American school that wants it.[21]

Congressional actionEdit

Proposed assault weapons banEdit

Main article: Wikipedia:Assault Weapons Ban of 2013

On January 24, 2013, Senator Wikipedia:Diane Feinstein and 24 Democrat cosponsors introduced Template:USBill, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 (AWB 2013).[22][23] It was similar to the expired 1994 federal ban, but differed in that it used a one-feature test for a firearm to be considered an Wikipedia:assault weapon, rather than the two-feature test of the 1994 ban.[24] Gun-control advocates said the stricter test would make the weapons less appealing to gun enthusiasts.[23] In addition, it would have banned: the sale, transfer, importation or manufacture of about 150 named firearms; firearms with "Wikipedia:thumbhole stocks" and "Wikipedia:bullet buttons"; the importation of assault weapons and large-capacity magazines; and large-capacity ammunition feeding devices (defined as those capable of holding more than 10 rounds).[24] It would have grandfathered in weapons legally owned on the day of enactment and exempted 2,258 specific firearms "used for hunting or sporting purposes", of which only 33 were semiautomatic centerfire rifles.[24][25]

Feinstein wanted the grandfathered firearms registered under the Wikipedia:National Firearms Act, which currently registers Wikipedia:machineguns, Wikipedia:silencers and Wikipedia:short barreled shotguns.[26][27][28]

On March 14, 2013, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the bill, even though it was expected not to clear the full Senate.[29] Had the bill passed in the Senate, it was not expected to pass in the House of Representatives.[30][24] On March 14, 2013, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the bill, even though it was expected not to clear the full Senate.[29] Senate Majority Leader Wikipedia:Harry Reid decided to leave the proposed ban out of the broader gun control bill, saying that it was unlikely to win 40 votes in the 100-member chamber and that it would jeopardize more widely supported proposals.[31][32] On the morning of April 17, 2013, the bill failed on a vote of 60 to 40. It was supported by Democrat Reid and Republican Senator Wikipedia:Mark Kirk, but 15 Democrats, one independent, and all the Republicans except Kirk voted against the ban.[31]

Proposed universal background checksEdit

The Manchin-Toomey Amendment was a bi-partisan piece of legislation sponsored by Wikipedia:Joe Manchin, a Democrat, and Republican Sen. Wikipedia:Pat Toomey that would require background checks on most private party firearm sales.[33] The bill known as Manchin Amendment No. 715 was voted on and defeated on April 17, 2013 by a vote of 54 - 46 because in order to pass it needed 60.[34]

Confirmed ATF directorEdit

On July 31, 2013, the Senate confirmed by a 53-42 vote Wikipedia:B. Todd Jones as director of the the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The agency had not had a permanent, full-time leader in seven years, though Jones, the U.S. attorney for Minnesota, had been acting director since September 2011, when the agency came under scrutiny over the Operation Fast and Furious gun-trafficking scandal.[35]

State actionsEdit

See also:WikipediaLGun laws in the United States by state, Wikipedia:Assault_weapons_ban#State assault weapon bans

States including New York, Connecticut, and Maryland, pushed for new restrictions on firearms ownership. As of April 3, 2013, only five states had passed stricter gun control laws, while ten states had passed laws that weakened restrictions on firearms. However, while gun-control legislation such as New York's assault weapons ban tended to be more comprehensive, the gun-rights legislation involved smaller changes like South Dakota's allowing teachers to bring handguns into the classroom.[36]

With the exception of Colorado, the states that passed stricter laws after the shooting had strict gun control laws in place.[37] Most states that passed firearms laws since the shooting, relaxed their gun control laws [38][36] including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.[39]

In February 2014, the Wikipedia:Hartford Courant reported that Connecticut had processed about 50,000 assault weapons certificates, but that anywhere from 50,000 to 350,000 remained unregistered. "And that means," wrote the Courant's Dan Haar, "as of Jan. 1, Connecticut has very likely created tens of thousands of newly minted criminals — perhaps 100,000 people, almost certainly at least 20,000 — who have broken no other laws."[40] Frank Miniter wrote in an April 2014 Wikipedia:Forbes Wikipedia:op-ed "that more than 300,000 Connecticut residents decided not to register their 'assault weapons,' moved them out of state, or sold them."[41]

Non-compliance has been reported in New York as well. Miniter said that assault weapons and high-capacity magazines (which he says are political terms) are owned by an estimated one million state residents. He wrote that many had decided to practice civil disobedience and not register their weapons, a class A misdemeanor with a potential sentence of one year in prison.[41] USA Today reported that some owners threatened not to register their weapons, and that some chose to bypass registration by modifying or selling them them before the April 15 deadline. State police say they cannot report how many people have registered. By law, they musk keep their database of assault weapon owners private.[42]

New YorkEdit

In January 2013, New York became the first U.S. state to act after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act passed in the state Senate 43-18 late Monday, January 15, cleared the Wikipedia:New York State Assembly after about five hours of debate on Tuesday, January 16, and was signed by Governor Wikipedia:Andrew Cuomo one hour later. The act expanded the definition of assault weapons banned in New York, created a state database for pistol permits, reduced the maximum number of rounds legally allowed in magazines to seven from ten, and required universal background checks on all gun sales.[43]

A dozen Republican conference members voted for the measure, but its Senate Republican leader did not attend the signing ceremony.[43] The NRA called the assembly's actions "a secretive end run around the legislative and democratic process ... with no committee hearings and no public input," and said the law was "draconian."[43]

In a related move, the state comptroller announced that the state's pension fund would freeze its investments in publicly traded firearm manufacturers. The fund's holdings in Wikipedia:Smith and Wesson had been sold in December, after the Connecticut shootings.[43]

Provisions of the SAFE Act have been challenged. On December 31, 2013, a federal court judge struck down the act's limit of seven rounds in magazines capable of holding 10, but upheld its expanded ban on assault weapons.[44] As of April 2014 that decision was under appeal, and another challenge, that the bill was improperly fast-tracked, was dismissed by a trial-level judge. The plaintiff said that he will take that decision to the Wikipedia:New York Court of Appeals.[45]

ConnecticutEdit

In the early morning hours of April 4, 2013, the Wikipedia:Connecticut General Assembly passed new restrictions to the state's existing assault weapons ban. Governor Wikipedia:Dannel Malloy signed them into law later the same day.[46] The law banned the sale or purchase of magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds of ammunition like those used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, and required universal background checks for all firearm purchases.[47]

Gun owners challenged the law, but federal judge Wikipedia:Alfred Covello upheld the law, ruling it constitutional and writing, "While the act burdens the plaintiffs' Second Amendment rights, it is substantially related to the important governmental interest of public safety and crime control." Gun owners said they would appeal.[48]

MarylandEdit

Late on April 4, 2013, the Wikipedia:Maryland General Assembly passed Governor Wikipedia:Martin O'Malley's gun control bill, the Firearm Safety Act of 2013. It bans the purchase of 45 types of assault weapons and limits gun magazines to 10 rounds. It requires handgun licensing and fingerprinting for new gun owners, and bans those who have been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility from buying a gun.[49]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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  27. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1iYl0coIOY
  28. http://www.c-span.org/video/?310086-1/senators-feinstein-blumenthal-react-nra
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Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

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