LawFuel.com – The ability of Congress to limit or ban the sale of assault weapons became closer with President Obama’s plea to Congress to ban their sale.
Following a series of mass shootings in recent years and the recent Newtown tragedy, the United States debate over gun laws has been well and truly rekindled as the Obama proposals come at a time when Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick also announced his plans for gun law changes.
The Boston Globe reports:
Under Patrick’s proposal, background checks would be required at gun shows; firearm magazines would be reduced to a maximum of seven rounds; and gun purchases would be limited to one a month for licensed buyers.
Obama’s recommendations came from a task force that was spearheaded by Vice President Joe Biden, who as a US senator in 1994 led the last major effort to address gun control.
The day’s actions illustrated how gun control is moving forward on three tracks: Obama’s use of his executive powers to enhance gun laws; calls for congressional action that face stiff resistance; and states attempting to craft their own measures.
“This is our first task as a society, keeping our children safe,” Obama said during an emotional ceremony in an auditorium next to the White House. “This is how we will be judged.”
The gun control debate has flared since the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 young students and six educators. Obama noted that more than 900 Americans had been killed by guns in the month since those shootings.
Following the ceremony, Obama signed 23 executive actions that took effect immediately and did not require congressional approval. Those measures will increase enforcement of existing laws, allow federal agencies to research gun violence, and encourage states to supply more information for federal background checks. But the more sweeping changes will need congressional action, and some Republicans swiftly rejected Obama’s call for an assault weapons ban.
“Nothing the president is proposing would have stopped the massacre at Sandy Hook,” said Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican. “President Obama is targeting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens instead of seriously addressing the real underlying causes of such violence.”
Advocates for the Obama proposal have said it might have made a difference in the case of Sandy Hook because it would have limited the amount of ammunition that could be loaded into a semiautomatic rifle at one time.
From the Boston Globe.
The changes to US gun laws will continue to arouse spirited and heart-felt debate as Congress and the courts will need to consider constitutional issues arising from gun law changes.