US presidents’ actions on gun control
Washington, June 13 (IANS) US President Barack Obama on Monday once again called the nation’s attention to the pressing problem of gun violence following the mass shooting in a gay nightclub in Orlando city, Florida, which left 50 people killed and 53 injured.
Until the end of 2015, Obama had made 15 public statements condemning gun violence and calling for a restriction on sales. However, he is not the only US president who has made efforts to curb gun violence, Xinhua news agency reported.
The following are more statements or actions over US gun control made by the presidents in the past decades:
This year on January 5, Obama presented at the White House a set of administrative measures to restrict gun use, including strict background checks on firearm purchasers, federal research on gun safety technology and a request for $500 million to improve mental health programmes.
On December 3, 2015, a day after Tashfeen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farook killed 14 people and injured 17 in a service centre for disabled people in California, Obama appealed for gun law reforms to restrict gun sales, the third time in a week that he made such a statement.
On December 16, 2012, Obama called for an urgent change to current US gun laws when attending a meeting to remember the 26 lives, including those of 20 children, lost in the school mass shootings in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14 that year.
After the 2012 shooting, the Obama administration initiated but failed to push for stronger gun control laws. Recalling such frustration, Obama admitted that the failure to reform gun laws is “one of the greatest frustrations” of his presidency.
During the presidency of George W. Bush, national gun laws were somewhat loosened as the Democratic Party supported the gun lobby and supporters.
Compared to Obama, Bush, according to the US media, made no direct public statement on any shooting incidents during his term.
Bush’s predecessor Bill Clinton successfully signed several federal acts on gun control in 1994, including the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, and the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act, commonly called the Assault Weapons Ban (AWB).
However, the AWB expired on September 13, 2004, as President Clinton had made the compromise with a Democrats-dominated congress that the ban only had effect for a term of 10 years.
Given that the right to keep and bear arms is protected by the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, many see scant hope to make big changes to American gun laws.
An average of about 33,000 people were killed by guns annually in the US in the past five years, according to data released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.