Welcome to the special 360 town hall,
“Guns under Fire" from the George Washington University in the nation's capital.
In a nearly 7 weeks since the rampage in Newtown, Connecticut, silenced 27 lives.
A national debate over guns has only grown louder and more urgent.
There was a shooting just today in a middle school in southeast Atlanta.
A student was hit, so the need for action is clear.
Often, however, the debate over what to do ends in shooting and pointed fingers which is why tonight we wanna try to cut through the talking points and the slogans and have an actual discussion that zeros in on some key issues and what goals.
If any are actaully achievable.
We got people here with many different experiences, many different opinions and backgrounds.
They all represent in this room.
Gun control advocates, people opposed to greater gun control.
Victims of crimes, people who use guns to protect themselves and their families.
We start, though, with a look at what's at stake.
Columbine, Virginia tech, Aurora, Newtown.
It's all too familiar pattern.
Mass shootings followed by a national dialogue on one of the most polarizing issue in America, gun control.
But any attempt to alter our relatively easy access to guns rarely gets off the ground.
The last time federal gun control legislation was passed was in 1994.
A year after a shooting armed with semiautomatic handguns shot and killed 8 people in an office building in downtown San Francisco.
The shooter was reportedly able to fire 30 shots without reloading, causing outrage among gun control advocates.
"The 19 assault weapons banned by this proposal are deadly, dangerous weapons.
They were designed for one purpose only, to kill people."
The manufacturing of semiautomatic weapons with magazines with more than 10 rounds of ammunition was banned for 10 years.
But still, the shootings continue.
In 1999, 23 people were wounded and 13 killed at Columbine High School.
The shooters used semiautomatic weapons they obtained illegally.
By the time the assault weapons ban expired in 2004, its effectiveness was questioned.
The Congressional Research Service could not definitively find a casual connection between fire arms and violence.
They wrote, quote: "Existing data do not show whether the number of people shot and killed with semiautonatic assault weapons declined during the 10 year period that those fire arms were banned. "
He went on the rampage after an argument with his wife.
After a long debate, the house of commons approved the bill.
The advertising slogan was a play on words.
But nothing can alter the facts.
Trainee commandos are put through an exhausting assault course.