- In the wake of a tragic school shooting in Connecticut, President Barack Obama and others have called for new gun-control legislation. The exact proposals are not yet known, but supporters will likely draw upon recent unsuccessful efforts. Below are six restrictions that have been discussed in recent years.
Restricting assault weapons
- Semiautomatic weapons are displayed in a Montgomery, Ala., police station in 2004. (AP Photo/Haraz Ghanbari).
- From 1994 to 2004, federal law barred the manufacture of 19 types of semi-automatic weapons for civilian use. Guns were banned for having such features as a pistol grip to make it easier to fire repeatedly. There have been a dozen unsuccessful attempts to reinstate the ban since it expired.
Restricting conversion kits
- Though the federal ban on assault weapons expired, some states have passed their own laws. In California, which has the toughest gun laws in the nation, some manufacturers have gotten around an assault weapons ban by selling "conversion kits" which add those features to other guns. A state senator has proposed banning those tools.
Restricting high-capacity magazines
- A pair of ammunition magazines, one that can hold 10 shots, right, and a 20-round magazine are displayed for a photo in 2011. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
- The federal assault weapons ban also restricted high-capacity magazines, which allow many shots to be fired without reloading. Six states already restrict the magazines, which were used in the shootings in Columbine, Virginia Tech and Aurora, Colo. Some have called for a federal law, which Obama may back.
Closing the 'gun show loophole'
- Collectors look for bargains at a National Rifle Association sponsored gun show in 1999. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
- Since 1998, the FBI has run the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which is used to determine if a person is eligible to buy a firearm. But some buyers are able to avoid background checks if they make the purchase at a gun show. U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., has proposed closing that loophole.
Adding the terrorist watch list to background checks
- The federal government maintains a much-criticized terrorist watch list with more than a million names. People on the watch list were cleared to buy guns nine times out of 10, according to a government report. Lautenberg has proposed adding the watch list to the background check system.
Restricting gun sales to the mentally ill
- A video aired by NBC News shows Virginia Tech gunman Cho Seung-Hui. (AP Photo/NBC)
- The federal background check system includes records of people who are seriously mentally ill, but some say it is not extensive enough. The shooters at Virginia Tech and Arizona were not on the list, for example. Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah said he would support stronger measures.