Congress and White House Consider Gun Control

Carolyn Kaster/AP

Carolyn Kaster/AP


We ran the numbers: There are 745 news articles covering this topic. 31% (228) are left leaning, 53% (394) center, 17% (123) right leaning.

In the aftermath of a series of mass shootings over the past month, both Congress and the White House are considering proposals to mitigate the prevalence of gun violence. One of the most discussed proposals is strengthening background checks in order to purchase guns. The House of Representatives approved three gun control measures on Tuesday: a red-flag measure that would help remove guns from the hands of people who are deemed a risk to their communities or themselves, a bill barring people convicted of hate crimes from buying firearms, and a bill banning magazines that hold 10 or more rounds of ammunition. The White House is also working to develop a plan to address gun violence. The process is complicated by the fact that it is currently unclear where President Trump stands on gun control. He has said he would support background check legislation, but has been pressured by congressional Republicans and the National Rifle Association into walking back those statements. 

A left-leaning article on the ongoing struggle over gun control from the Washington Post focuses on the executive side of the issue, noting that the White House is planning to roll out its plan to reduce gun violence in the next week. The article also notes that congressional Republicans, under pressure to take action on the issue, have gone on the offensive, honing in on Beto O’Rourke’s promise to take away assault weapons from gun owners. 

Centrist coverage from The Hill focuses on the fact that Senate Republicans are exerting pressure on Trump and congressional Republican leaders to back down on gun control. For instance, Texas senator Ted Cruz warned on Thursday that if Republicans strike a deal with Democrats to strengthen background checks they will demoralize Republican voters ahead of the 2020 election. The article particularly focuses on the Manchin-Toomey proposal, which would require background checks for all sales over the internet and at gun shows but exempt sales between family members, friends and coworkers who conduct transactions in person.

A right-leaning Fox News article focuses on the red flag bill passed by the House on Tuesday. The article questions whether red flag laws are effective in preventing gun violence, noting that there is currently limited data to prove or disprove their efficacy. The article is oriented toward the frequent conservative narrative surrounding gun control; namely, that the emphasis should be on addressing mental health issues rather than gun prevalence. The article reads “Other NRA officials also cited a 2016 study that detailed the circumstances behind the use of red flag laws in Connecticut, saying that there are some concerns with the findings--mainly the low number of people who actually received mental health treatment after their weapons were seized as a result of that state’s red flag law.”