NATIONAL (BTSNews) January 17, 2013 -- One month after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown Connecticut, President Obama formally proposed new gun control laws banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines, and imposing strict background checks for all gun sales and transfers. The President also signed 23 Executive Orders to strengthen gun control laws.
BEHIND THE SCENES, however, Congressional passage of the new, proposed laws is far from certain. Republicans have generally called the President's proposals and Executive orders a "power grab" and have threatened the President with impeachment if he moves forward on gun control unilaterally. Progressive voices, however, have unified in support of the President's efforts.
Death by gunfire may be caused by criminals, gangs, botched drug deals, accidents, the mentally unstable, movies, video games, or -- as some say -- by the guns themselves. Gun control has been on the national agenda for the past 45 years, while at least 82 Americans die from gunshots every day:
- Following the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, President Lyndon Johnson attempted to push gun control on a national, comprehensive level, and sought to license and register all guns and gun owners. The attempt failed, resulting in a ban on little more than mail order guns and $10 "Saturday Night Specials."
- The 1981 attempted assassination of Pres. Reagan lead to the 1994 Brady Law (which imposed a loophole-ridden background check requirement) and the partial, temporary Federal Assault Weapons ban from 1994 to 2004. Then, in 1999, two senior students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, murdered a total of 12 students and one teacher in Columbine High School, Colorado. The two shooters also injured 21 additional students, with three others injured while attempting to escape the school. The two shooters then committed suicide. Despite widespread mourning and outrage, national gun control laws, as well as laws concerning the dangerously unstable, remained unchanged.
- Thirteen years after the Columbine shooting, a 2012 mass shooting occurred inside a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. A gunman dressed in tactical clothing exploded tear gas grenades and shot into the audience with multiple firearms, killing 12 people and injuring 58 others. Remembering the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting in Blacksburg, Virginia that killed 32 people and wounded 17 others, the nation mourned, but did nothing about guns and the insane.
- On December 14, 2012, a lone gunman in Newtown, Connecticut using a Bushmaster assault rifle shot and killed 20 children, ages 6 - 7 years old, plus 6 teachers and his own mother. The horrific nature of the killings, and the heroic, sacrificial deaths of the teachers, created a watershed event in gun control thinking. President Obama and other lawmakers vowed to pass legislation designed to prevent similar mass tragedies in the future.
- A week after the Newtown massacre, the NRA called for the hiring of armed police officers in every American school, and blamed gun violence on video games and movies. Many gun owners, lawmakers and gun rights activists were appalled by the NRA's disjointed, if not overtly self-serving, response. Gun control activists were infuriated.
- As the nation watched the parents and families bury the Newtown victims, President Obama initiated strong measures to reform national gun control encompassing a permanent ban of assault weapons, high capacity magazines, and comprehensive background checks for all gun purchases and transfers.
- In response to the nationwide outcry for gun control, and the swell of political courage to face down the gun lobby, gun owners and hobbyists begin purchasing assault weapons "like they were going out of style" because many believed that they, in fact, were.
- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signs sweeping legislation reforming gun control in New York State, with the aid and support of out-spoken gun control proponent New York City Mayor Bloomberg. All assault weapons were banned, all magazines were limited to seven rounds, licensing and registration protocols were enacted, and provisions to keep guns from the mentally ill were signed into law.
In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, the President hopes that popular sentiment for tougher federal gun control will not falter. The question is whether gun control advocates (who historically have lost steam over the course of the legislative process) or gun rights proponents (who are used to weathering the changing winds of the gun control debate) will prevail. Will the visceral response to the Sandy Hook and other recent shootings carry the day for gun control? Or will cooler heads win, as they did after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy? Only time will tell.
Please share this article on Twitter and Facebook.
You may also click on the "SUBSCRIBE" button above for cutting-edge BTSNews articles via email.
To become a writer for Examiner.com, please click here - http://exm.nr/VH0VQ8.
Behind the Scenes News (BTSNews) is a copyright and trademark of Anthony Jay Blackwell