Skip to main content

Gun violence plans: What's in the works

By CNN Political Unit
updated 11:17 AM EST, Sat February 9, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Connecticut school massacre prompts a number of proposals in Washington aimed at curbing gun violence
  • They include a ban on assault weapons that insiders say has little chance of getting through Congress
  • Some bipartisan support for proposals to expand background checks around gun purchases

Washington (CNN) -- December's school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, has prompted congressional lawmakers and the White House to offer a number of proposals aimed at curbing gun violence.

Here are some of the measures garnering the most attention:

The White House plan

President Barack Obama signed 23 executive actions, which don't require congressional approval, to strengthen existing gun laws and take related steps on mental health and school safety.

He has also called on Congress to reinstate the Clinton-era assault weapons ban that expired in 2004, to restrict ammunition magazines to no more than 10 rounds, and to expand background checks to anyone buying a gun, whether at a store or in a private sale at an auction or convention.

Anna Deavere Smith talks gun control
Kerry Kennedy on Gun Culture
Celebrities join gun control fight
Abbott: Meet force with force

Assault weapons ban revisited

A proposal by Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-California, would not ban ownership of assault weapons outright, but would prohibit new ones from being manufactured, sold or imported. It would also outlaw ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.

She said the goal is to "dry up the supply of these weapons over time." The measure, along with a companion bill in the House, is opposed by the nation's powerful gun lobby, led by the National Rifle Association.

Gun focus shifts from ban to checks and trafficking

Cracking down on straw purchases

Vermont Democrat Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has called for stronger background checks and a crackdown on so-called straw purchases, in which people who can pass background checks buy weapons for others. Leahy has proposed a measure to increase penalties for straw purchasers.

Curbing gun trafficking

A new House bipartisan gun control bill seeks to make gun trafficking a federal crime. It has some bipartisan support and mirrors a measure proposed in the Senate.

House Democratic efforts

A group of House Democrats, who were part of the chamber's Democratic Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, unveiled 15 proposals to address gun violence. The measures largely echoed those previously backed by the White House.

The package is similar to other Democratic measures that would address background checks, ban high capacity magazines, and crack down on gun trafficking.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Viginia, told CNN that he supports beefed up background checks for gun sales.

Newtown calls on Connecticut to 'show America the way' on gun control

Closing gun show loophole

A group of four senators working behind the scenes on a bipartisan bill to expand background checks on gun sales is making significant progress, according to sources in both parties familiar with their work.

The group includes Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, who has an A rating with the National Rifle Association, and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, a long time advocate of gun rights.

The legislation would effectively require background checks on private gun purchases made with non-licensed gun dealers, according to sources in both parties. That would include closing the so-called gun show loophole.

Why new laws could miss America's bigger gun problem

Political play

House Speaker John Boehner has said he has no plans to bring any measure up for a vote until the Senate acts first.

Republicans oppose any assault weapons ban and rural-state Democrats facing tough re-election fights are unlikely to support it as well, meaning that proposal has little chance of passing Congress.

There is some bipartisan support for expanded background checks, especially to keep guns out of the hands of people with mental illness. A number of lawmakers may also support limiting the size of ammunition magazines.

Some lawmakers have said that various gun proposals may be addressed in separate bills, rather than a comprehensive package, which could more easily be targeted by opponents.

The top Democrat in Congress, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, has a good rating from gun rights groups and has said he would work to ensure that a variety of proposals are brought to the floor for consideration.

He opposed the 1994 assault weapons ban and has indicated support for expanding background checks but refuses to endorse a new weapons prohibition.

Gun debate: Where is the middle ground?

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 5:06 PM EDT, Tue July 29, 2014
Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and Katie Ray-Jones, the president and acting CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, discuss the lethal mix of domestic violence and guns.
updated 4:53 PM EDT, Fri May 30, 2014
Gun rights and gun control advocates largely agree there should be restrictions on mentally ill people obtaining firearms. The case of Myron Fletcher illustrates how difficult it is to put that into practice.
updated 4:12 PM EDT, Wed April 23, 2014
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed a wide-ranging gun bill into law Wednesday that has critics howling and proponents applauding.
updated 6:52 AM EDT, Thu June 13, 2013
Six months after a gunman burst into a Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school and slaughtered 20 children and killed six others, promises of stricter national gun control laws remain largely unfulfilled.
updated 2:44 PM EDT, Wed June 25, 2014
Next time there's a mass shooting, don't jump to blame the National Rifle Association and lax gun laws. Look first at the shooter and the mental health services he did or didn't get, and the commitment laws in the state where the shooting took place.
updated 7:20 AM EDT, Sat June 8, 2013
The sign at the door of the Colt factory displays a gun with a slash through it: "No loaded or unauthorized firearms beyond this point." Understandable for workers at a plant, but also a bit ironic, considering one of the largest arsenals in America lies just beyond.
updated 7:18 AM EDT, Sat June 8, 2013
Much attention has been paid to the defeat in Congress of proposals to ban assault weapons and expand background checks for firearm purchases.
updated 9:04 AM EDT, Sat June 29, 2013
Morgan Spurlock's "Inside Man" gives CNN viewers an inside and in-depth look at the issue of firearms -- as viewed from behind the counter of a gun store. Here are five things to know about the debate.
updated 1:28 PM EDT, Mon May 5, 2014
The Supreme Court continued its recent hands-off approach on gun control, refusing to accept a challenge to New Jersey's restrictions on carrying weapons in public.
updated 11:02 AM EDT, Thu April 18, 2013
The Senate defeated a compromise plan to expand background checks on firearms sales as well as a proposal to ban some semi-automatic weapons modeled after military assault weapons.
updated 8:03 PM EDT, Thu April 11, 2013
As Congress grapples with major gun control legislation proposals, brothers and sisters, mothers, fathers and children write about the people they loved and lost to gun violence and how it changed their lives.
updated 8:45 AM EDT, Thu April 11, 2013
Hear from both sides of the gun debate as opinions clash.
updated 1:44 PM EDT, Wed May 1, 2013
It was a bit awkward the first time Kate Daggett asked the question.
updated 9:41 AM EDT, Wed April 10, 2013
Many Americans and lawmakers are in favor of continuing or expanding background checks on gun purchases, but few understand how the checks work.
updated 3:35 PM EDT, Thu April 4, 2013
Still stinging from the shooting deaths at Sandy Hook, Connecticut lawmakers approved what advocacy groups call the strongest and most comprehensive gun legislation in the nation.
updated 9:53 AM EDT, Fri March 29, 2013
It took fewer than five minutes for Adam Lanza to squeeze off 154 rounds, upending life in Newtown, Connecticut, and triggering a renewed national debate over gun control.
Who should get them? Join the gun control debate and share your perspective on CNN iReport.
updated 11:24 AM EDT, Tue April 2, 2013
Before having children, she was a firm believer that guns were dangerous. Now this mother of three has a different perspective.
updated 6:54 PM EDT, Tue March 19, 2013
In the biggest fight over firearms since December's massacre at a Connecticut elementary school, gun-control advocates are poised to notch a victory in an unlikely place.
A former drug addict turned anti-violence crusader, and a man who lost his father in a temple shooting. These are just two of many in the conversation.
updated 1:22 PM EST, Fri February 1, 2013
At a town hall that brought all sides of the gun debate together, was there a consensus? Sort of.
updated 10:51 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
The federal background check system for gun buyers didn't stop a mentally ill man from buying a gun, which he used to kill his mother.
updated 7:37 PM EST, Thu January 31, 2013
In disputes over the future of gun laws, people espousing different positions often literally don't understand each other.
ADVERTISEMENT