It's been nearly a month since the Newtown school shooting, but rather than fade away, as it has after so many previous tragedies, the push for new gun legislation is actually gaining steam. A weekend story in The Washington Post leaked a few of the proposals being considered by Vice President Joe Biden's gun-control task force, which are due by the end of this month, and emerging details and unexpected endorsements have ratcheted up both sides of the debate for what looks to be a major fight over the future of guns in America. Biden will meet with representatives from the NRA and other gun advocacy groups this week, the White House announced this afternoon. The questions now: What might the new laws look like? And how soon can anything really happen, if at all?
On the first day of Congress' new session last week, 10 different bills relating to gun control were introduced, as members scrambled over themselves to get their proposals on the record. (Two were actually proposals to claw back gun control, by eliminating "gun-free" school zones.) Some of those bills mirrored the ideas being discussed by Biden's group, while others went off in other more fanciful directions. Here are some of the most talked about ideas, in descending order of likelihood that they will actually end up in front of Congress:
- A renewal of the now-expired assault weapons ban
- Closing the loophole that allows people to buy guns at gun shows without a background check
- Banning high-capacity ammunition clips
- A national database of people (convicted felons; the mentally ill) who are prohibited from buying guns
- Nationwide registration of every hand gun and/or a database for tracking the sale of all weapons