Since President Obama called upon Congress to reinstate the Federal Assault Weapons Ban on Tuesday, numerous online petitions have been posted in support. The president's request precede his visit to Orlando, which is scheduled for Thursday. A gay nightclub in the Florida city was the target of a mass shooting — the deadliest in American history — early Sunday morning. After 49 people died at the hands of a man with a semiautomatic weapon, advocates of gun control took action.
In addition to talking about bringing back the ban during his recent speech, Obama promoted stricter gun laws which would make it more difficult for individuals who are suspected of being potential terrorists to purchase guns:
Reinstate the assault weapons plan. Make it harder for terrorists to use these weapons to kill us. Otherwise, despite extraordinary efforts, despite all the sacrifices that folks make, these kinds of events are going to keep on happening. And the weapons are only going to get more powerful.
Under the ban, the kinds of gun used in the Sandy Hook, Aurora movie theater, San Bernardino, and Orlando attacks would be banned. It's unclear whether or not the ban was responsible for reducing gun violence when the bill was active from 1994 until 2004, because only a small percentage of overall gun crimes are committed using semiautomatic assault weapons.
However, it's possible that the ban could have had an effect on mass shootings. According to research conducted by Mother Jones, the last 25 of 62 mass shooting cases have occurred in the past seven years. On top of that, the rate of mass shootings have significantly increased since the ban was lifted.
If you believe that mass shootings can be reduced by banning semiautomatic assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, there are several petitions you can sign to voice your opinion.
1) Change.org Petition #1
"Reinstate the Assault Weapons Ban and Remove Weapons of War from our Streets" was posted just days after the Orlando shooting. It's addressed to President Obama, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi, and needs 141 signatures to reach its goal of 1,000 supporters. Find the petition here.
2) Change.org Petition #2
"Ban Assault Weapons and Large Ammunition Magazines" needs just over 2,800 more signatures to reach its goal of 25,000. A California student created it after researching her state's gun laws in the aftermath of the San Bernardino attacks. Her petition focuses on both assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. The magazine portion is just as important as the ban on assault weapons themselves. Without high-capacity magazines which hold more than 10 bullets at a time, a gunman wouldn't be able to fire dozens of bullets in a row without having to reload. Sign the petition here.
3) MoveOn.org Petition #1
This petition was created in the aftermath of the Aurora, Colorado shooting, but is still accepting signatures. One commenter expressed that she's both a gun owner and a supporter of the ban:
I am not opposed to all guns. I came from a South Georgia hunting family. We ate what we killed. But NO one believed that people should have a machine gun.
You can find the petition here.
4) MoveOn.org Petition #2
After being published days after the Orlando shooting, the petition "Ban Assault Weapons Now" has gained over 500,000 signatures. Sign here.
5) MoveOn.org Petition #3
The author of the petition "Ban High-Capacity Assault Weapon Magazines" is settling on banning just the magazines themselves. So far, it's received 90 signatures and is trying to reach 100. Find the petition here.
6) MoveOn.org Petition #4
The petition"President Obama: Make Your Legacy Banning Assault Weapons" calls specifically on the president to reinstate the ban. The author points out that the founding fathers had only "single shot muskets." 15 people have signed the petition, but it's attempting to reach at least 50 signatures. Find it here.
7) MoveOn.org Petition #5
This petition calls upon Congress to bring back the ban on federal assault weapons. As background, the author wrote:
While it is true that people kill people, and that guns do not shoot themselves, it is also true that mass execution would not be possible without such high capacity weapons. How many people have to die before we ban those weapons?
It has attracted over 235,000 signatures and needs 250,000. Sign it here.
8) MoveOn.org Petition #6
The author of this petition, which has gained over 400 signatures, wrote, "Our elected leaders should take decisive and immediate action to ban assault weapons from civilian use in the United States." If you agree, you can find the petition here.
9) ForceChange.com Petition
This petition was created in October 2012 following the mass shooting in Aurora. Most importantly, it petitions President Obama. The author wrote:
In the wake of the recent massacre in Colorado, it is obvious that we are in dire need of strong leadership that addresses the gun violence that keeps our communities in danger. The best way you can start providing this leadership is by reinstating the expired federal ban on assault weapons.
Find the petition here.