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January 16, 2013

President to Announce New Gun Control Measures

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Just over a month since a mass shooting claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the president says he is ready to announce steps to curb gun violence in the United States.

These steps could include executive action to order stricter penalties for lying on a gun background check or gun trafficking.

The president will listen to recommendations from Vice President Biden, who has met with advocates from both sides of the gun control debate.

However, it will be up to Congress to implement more sweeping measures.

“There are specific legislative actions that [the president] will continue to call on Congress to take, including the assault weapons ban, including a measure to ban high-capacity magazine clips, including an effort to close the very big loopholes in the background check system in our country,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney.

At the same time, some states are taking steps to limit gun violence on their own. The state of New York, recently moved to adopt the nation’s toughest gun control bill, while Maryland and Delaware are also weighing new laws.

New polls show that more than half of Americans support banning assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines, as well as placing armed guards in schools. However, the president sought to reassure those who fear that new legislation will ban most firearms.

“Those who oppose any common sense gun control or gun safety measures have a pretty effective way of ginning up fear on the part of gun owners that somehow the federal government’s about to take all your guns away. And, you know, there’s probably an economic element to that. It obviously is good for business,” he said at a news conference at the White House.

Warm up questions

1. What is the Second Amendment?

2. What do you know about guns in the United States? Can anyone buy a gun?

3. What happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012?

Discussion questions

1. Do you think stricter gun laws would help prevent incidents like the shooting at Sandy Hook? Why or why not?

2. Why are gun laws so controversial in the United States?

3. What do you think can be done to prevent more school shootings?


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