Gun debate shifts to presidential town hall

President Barack Obama wipes away tears from his eyes as he speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, about steps his administration is taking to reduce gun violence. Also on stage are stakeholders, and individuals whose lives have been impacted by the gun violence. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON (MEDIA GENERAL) – Two days after announcing plans to use his executive authority to enact gun reform, President Obama will sell his proposals to the American people in a live televised town hall event.

Obama is set to participate in the invite-only event moderated by CNN’s Anderson Cooper. The town hall will be broadcast live but is not open to the public. A full guest list has not been released but at least one gun owner invited to the event believes the discussion could help shift the White House strategy.

“I’d like to have an opportunity to sit down, and be a part of the decision making,” said Ryan Pennock, the owner of Thunderbird Tactical Inc of Wichita, Kansas. The televised public discussion strategy is often used by political candidates hoping to win votes but political experts believe Thursday’s event could convince a small minority of Americans to re-consider their opinions of gun reform.

“Now its almost as polarized as abortion, there’s almost no more pro-gun Democrats, and there’s really no pro-gun control Republicans left,” said Jeremy Mayer, an associate political professor at George Mason University.

The White House is expected to make gun reform a key point of President Obama’s final State of the Union address on January 12. The presidential town hall will be broadcast live on CNN starting at 8pm Eastern / 5pm Pacific and can be streamed online via


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