CNN has been hyping the January 7 appearance of President Barack Obama to explain to a live audience and television viewers his recent executive actions on the sale of firearms. The televised event will take place at George Mason University in Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington D.C. According to an email sent to students by Renell Wynn – GMU’s vice president of communications and marketing - the event is closed to students and the general public. “CNN is hosting a Town Hall with President Barack Obama on Thursday, Jan. 7, in the Johnson Center,” Wynn wrote. “This is an invitation-only event. No tickets are available.”
According to the Washington Post, a university spokesperson said “the audience would be evenly divided between organizations that support the Second Amendment including NRA members as well as groups that back gun regulation.” Another spokesperson said that GMU is only providing the venue at the ‘Guns in America’ event planned and orchestrated by CNN. CNN’s Anderson Cooper will moderate the town hall where the president is to receive questions from audience members.
The National Rifle Assocation, which is the largest gun rights organization and a powerful lobby in the nation’s capital, will not be sending representatives to the nationally televised town hall meeting. “The National Rifle Association sees no reason to participate in a public relations spectacle orchestrated by the White House,” NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam told CNN. The NRA has 5 million members in the U.S.
On January 5, Obama announced a series of actions his administration will take to restrict access to firearms. Among the provisions are requirements for all gun sellers to register with the federal government and receive licenses, while mental health professionals will be allowed to invade the privacy of patients to warn the federal government and thus prohibit gun purchases by those patients. See Spero News report
Other events featuring Obama at the suburban campus have been open to the public and students. The president specialized in addressing students on campus during his first presidential election campaign in 2008 and later in 2012.
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