President Barack Obama confronted opponents to his newly announced gun control plan Thursday night at a live town hall meeting, titled “Guns in America.” The meeting, held at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, featured a direct audience questioning Obama on his controversial executive actions aimed at curbing gun violence.
“The goal of the town hall meeting is for the president to engage with both people who support his position on gun safety, but also to have a conversation with those who don't agree with some of the President's positions on these issues," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Wednesday before the event at George Mason University, CNN reported.
Obama announced a series of executive actions Tuesday that would expand background checks, closing the so-called “gun show loophole” that allows people to purchase guns at shows and online without a background check. While a CNN/ORC poll released Thursday night revealed that 67 percent of Americans back Obama’s executive actions on guns, roughly six in 10 people do not think the measures will be effective in reducing the number of gun-related deaths in the United States.
"I believe in the Second Amendment, there written on paper, that guarantees the right to bear arms," Obama said earlier this week. "No matter how many times people try to twist my words around, I taught constitutional law. I know a little bit about this. But I also believe that we can find ways to reduce gun violence consistent with the Second Amendment."
Groups that attended the town hall meeting, which was invitation only, included Gun Owners of America, American Firearms Retailers Association, Everytown for Gun Safety and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. The National Rifle Association was also invited to attend, but declined. Instead, the organization was scheduled to appear on Fox News following the event.
As is typical for most highly-publicized political events, Thursday night’s town hall meeting was a hot topic on Twitter. Everyone from politicians to concerned citizens weighed in on the issue, and below is a round-up of some of the best tweets of the night.
— Gabrielle Giffords (@GabbyGiffords) January 8, 2016
— OutFrontCNN (@OutFrontCNN) January 8, 2016
— Lindsey Leake (@NewsyLindsey) January 8, 2016
— Mitch Behna (@MitchBehna) January 8, 2016
We don't even prosecute the criminals that fail the background checks. #GunsInAmerica
— Lawrence B.Jones III (@LawrenceBJones3) January 8, 2016
POTUS missing key opportunity at opening of #GunsInAmerica 2 answer hardest question: Why should gun owners trust you? Asked, not answered
— Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) January 8, 2016
Occurs to me that people participating in #GunsInAmerica event had to undergo background checks to be there, but some won't do it for a gun
— Michael Smerconish (@smerconish) January 8, 2016
Here it comes. “In some areas it’s easier for a kid to buy a gun, and cheaper, than to get a book.” And that’s a criminal act #GunsInAmerica
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) January 8, 2016
— Dan Smith (@0DanSmith) January 8, 2016
— AVigilantOpinion (@No1TopHatFanboy) January 8, 2016
— NRA (@NRA) January 8, 2016
It’s true: None of the president’s orders would have stopped any of the recent mass shootings #GunsInAmerica
— NRA (@NRA) January 8, 2016
— Everytown (@Everytown) January 8, 2016
— Yahoo News (@YahooNews) January 8, 2016
When people say Sandy Hook was "the end of the gun debate," I think they're off by more than a decade. Columbine was. #GunsInAmerica
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) January 8, 2016
— Martin O'Malley (@MartinOMalley) January 8, 2016
— USA TODAY Washington (@USATWashington) January 8, 2016
— PETER MAER (@petermaer) January 8, 2016