Case Study Gun Control

In 2012 Adam Lanza shot and killed 26 people at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. 20 children - aged six and seven years - and six adult staff members died. Lanza committed suicide at the school. More people were killed in this incident than in any other high-school shooting in US history. President Obama immediately gave an emotional public address followed by a number of speeches about the killings both in Connecticut and from the White House. He also met with families. He initiated  a gun violence task force headed by his Vice President, Joe Biden. Legislative proposals were sent to Congress  which included maximum ammunition magazines of ten rounds and the re-introduction of an assault-weapons ban, which existed under the Clinton presidency. This legislation was soon debated in Congress but failed to pass. Obama then pursued a number of executive orders, bypassing Congress and achieving some of his policy goals. 

This case study illustrates the president's ability to initiate legislation and the Congressional check on that ability- the Executive Orders are an example of the president's unchecked powers.

See the video below for an example of Obama using his 'bully pulpit' to try to exert pressure on Congress.

June 2022. A gunman killed 19 children and two teachers  at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, a small city west of San Antonio. It was the deadliest school shooting since the murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012. The shooting is one of the deadliest school attacks on record. It is also one of more than 200 mass shootings to have been recorded in the United States so far this year. Just 10 days earlier, a gunman fatally shot 10 people at a Buffalo grocery store. 

President Biden visited Uvalde on Sunday, where he said his administration would take action to prevent another mass shooting. But the White House has acknowledged there is little Mr. Biden can do without Congress.

The National Rifle Association held its annual meeting in Houston on Friday. Former President Donald J. Trump and Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, were among the speakers.

The House of Representatives, passed a wide-ranging package of legislation, called the "Protecting Our Kids Act" by lawmakers, passed by 223-204 votes with just five Republicans joining Democrats in supporting the bill. It then went to the Senate.  

The Senate was subject to a significant lobbying effort. Major Republican donors joined other conservative Texans in signing an open letter pushing for gun control. The letter is expected to run as a full-page ad in the Dallas Morning News on Sunday and will support expanding background checks and raising the age to purchase a gun to 21.  More than 220 CEOs of major companies - including Levi Strauss & Co, Lululemon and Lyft - called on the Senate "take immediate action" to reduce gun violence following the recent spate of shooting deaths. 

A bipartisan team of senators on 12 June 2022 announced what they billed as a "commonsense" legislative package that would encourage "red flag laws," create the first federal law against gun trafficking and straw purchasing, and enhance background checks for firearms buyers under 21 years old. The package does not include a ban on assault weapons or implement universal background checks, as was sought by President Joe Biden, fellow Democrats and families of gun violence victims .The measure does not provide for universal background checks, somethingthe vast majority of Americans support, according to numerous polls. Nor does it ban the purchase of assault weapons by people under 21. The Uvalde shooter was 18  The approval of 10 GOP senators suggests that it would survive the 60-vote threshold needed to break a filibuster in the Senate. 

The deal is the first set of new federal restrictions on gun ownership and gun safety in nearly three decades, when then-Sen. Biden successfully negotiated an assault weapons ban. That 1994 law expired in 2004.