What Queen Elizabeth’s relationship was like with every US president, from Truman to Trump

Queen Elizabeth II visits Hull
Queen Elizabeth II, pictured on a visit to Hull last month.

  • President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will meet Queen Elizabeth II on their visit to the UK.
  • Since 1951, the Queen has met with 11 US presidents and helped facilitate diplomatic relations.
  • Here’s what the queen’s relationships and meetings with US presidents have been like.
  • Sign up for the 10 Things in Politics daily newsletter.

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden are set to meet Queen Elizabeth II in their first trip to the United Kingdom of Biden’s presidency for the G7 summit, currently taking place in Cornwall, England.

The Bidens will attend a reception and dinner with other G7 leaders several members of the Royal Family including the Queen, Prince Charles, Duchess Camilla of Cornwall, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Princess Kate, in Cornwall on Friday, June 11.

Then, the Bidens are scheduled to visit the Queen again at Windsor Castle on Sunday, June 13.

The Queen, who ascended to the throne in 1952 and is currently the world’s longest-reigning monarch, has played a major role in facilitating the US and UK’s “special” diplomatic relationship.

The Queen traveled to Washington, DC for the first time to meet President Harry Truman in 1951 when she was still a princess. She’s met 11 US American presidents total (Biden will be the 12th) at places including Buckingham Palace, the White House, and even a Baltimore Orioles game.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump last visited with the royals from June 3-5, 2019 on a special state visit to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

They attended several distinctly British meet-and-greet opportunities, including tea with heir Prince Charles, a banquet at Buckingham Palace, a tour of Westminster Abbey, and a D-Day anniversary ceremony, most of which was alongside royalty.

Here’s what the Queen’s relationships and meetings with US presidents have been like, from Harry Truman to Donald Trump.

When Queen Elizabeth was still a princess in 1951, she traveled to Washington, DC to the first time to meet President Harry Truman, and the two complimented each other’s nations. “Free men everywhere look towards the United States with affection and with hope,” she told Truman.

Queen Elizabeth Harry Truman
Princess Elizabeth and President Harry Truman sit for this picture in the Canadian Embassy in Washington, on Nov. 1, 1951 during formal dinner for the Trumans. The Princess and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, played host to the Trumans. This was one of the high spots of the royal couple’s Washington visit which followed their Canadian tour.

Sources: Vogue, UC Santa Barbara Presidency Project

The queen developed a close friendship with President Dwight Eisenhower, who hosted Her Majesty for her first state visit to the US as queen. They corresponded by letter for years – with the queen even sharing her recipe for grilled scones with Eisenhower.

queen elizabeth DC eisenhower
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II walks with U.S. President Eisenhower past the Guard of Honour at Washington National Airport, Oct. 17, 1957. The Commander of the Honour Guard Lt. Colonel Robert Phelps marches beside the Queen.

Source: BBC America

The queen reportedly felt upstaged and outshined by Jacqueline Kennedy when she and President Kennedy toured France and England in the summer of 1961 The queen hosted them at Buckingham Palace.

Queen Elizabeth JFK Jackie
Queen Elizabeth II poses with President John Kennedy, first lady Jacqueline Kennedy, and Prince Philip, June 5, 1961, at Buckingham Palace in London. The Kennedys were guests of the Queen at dinner.

Source: Washington Post

Nevertheless, Queen Elizabeth and President Kennedy warmly corresponded until his death in 1963, after which the queen created a physical memorial and a scholarship fund in Kennedy’s honor.

Queen Elizabeth John F. Kennedy
Queen Elizabeth II and President John Kennedy pose at Buckingham Palace in London, June 5, 1961.

Source: Washington Post

President Richard Nixon met the queen multiple times during his time as vice president and president – and reportedly tried to fix his daughter Tricia up with Prince Charles, the queen’s eldest son.

queen elizabeth richard nixon
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, pictured with U.S. President Richard Nixon, right, and Britain’s Prime Minister Edward Heath at Chequers, Buckinghamshire, in 1970.

Source: BBC America

President Gerald Ford hosted Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip for a state dinner. “If I hadn’t kept mixing up Your Highness and Your Majesty (he’s His Highness, she’s Her Majesty) I’d give myself four stars for the way that visit went off,” First Lady Betty Ford wrote of the dinner in her memoirs.

Queen Elizabeth Gerald Ford
President Ford and first lady Betty Ford pose with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip outside the North Portico of the White House in Washington on July 7, 1976. The Fords are hosting a state dinner for the Queen of England in the Executive Mansion.

Source: Ford Presidential Library

Outside of the occasion’s formalities, the Fords did have a humorous moment with the queen during the 1976 visit that involved their 24-year-old son, Jack.

gerald ford queen elizabeth
President Ford dances with England’s Queen Elizabeth during a visit by the Queen to the United States.

Kate Andersen Brower, the author of “First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies,” told CNN that when the Fords brought the queen and Prince Philip to the residence before the visit’s dinner, they ran into Jack, who was wearing jeans and a t-shirt.

The queen reassured the first lady about the run-in, saying: “Don’t worry, Betty, I have one of those at home, too.”

President Jimmy Carter committed an infamous faux-pas in kissing the Queen Mother on the lips during his visit to Buckingham Palace to attend a NATO event.

Queen Elizabeth Jimmy Carter
French President Giscard d’Estaing, left, chats with Queen Elizabeth II, and President Jimmy Carter escorts the Queen Mother to pose for photographers prior to the State Dinner, May 7, 1977, at Buckingham Palace

Source: BBC America

Queen Elizabeth developed a close relationship with President Ronald Reagan, with whom she shared a love of horseback riding.

Queen Elizabeth Reagan
U.S. President Ronald Reagan, on Centennial, and Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, on Burmese, go horseback riding on the grounds of Windsor Castle, England.

Source: BBC America

The queen was reportedly very friendly with both Nancy and Ronald Reagan, whose family ranch she visited in 1983.

reagans queen elizabeth
President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan welcome Queen Elizabeth II to their ranch at Rancho Del Cielo, California, March 1 1983.

Brower told CNN the first lady wrote about the queen in her memoir and the two “had a good relationship.”

Reagan wrote that the queen came to the ranch after the president and first lady mentioned it during a visit to Windsor Castle, and the queen wanted to ride horses. 

Though the queen made it to the ranch, “the weather was awful, so instead the Reagans left the ranch to go on the royal yacht Britannia,” Brower told CNN.

Despite the change of plans, Reagan wrote: “I spent that evening with the Queen, sitting on a sofa in the large living room, talking about our children like old friends.”

In 1989, the queen granted Reagan honorary knighthood – the highest distinction the United Kingdom awards foreigners – in recognition of Reagan’s assistance to the UK in the Falkland Wars.

Queen Elizabeth Reagan
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, pose with the insignia of the honour ary Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, which the Queen conferred on Reagan, after a lunch in Buckingham Palace, London,

Source: Associated Press

George H.W. Bush, a life-long baseball fan, took Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip to a Baltimore Orioles vs. Oakland Athletics game in 1991 – the first time the queen had been to a baseball game.

Queen Elizabeth George HW Bush
President George H. Bush escorts Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip on the field at Memorial Stadium on Wednesday, May 15, 1991 in Baltimore, before the Orioles played the Oakland A’s.

Source: Politico

After President Bush died in December 2018, the queen put out a statement that honored him as “a great friend and ally of the United Kingdom” and a “patriot.” She also sent Prince Charles to represent the Royal Family at his funeral.

george hw bush queen elizabeth
President and Mrs. Bush pose with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, far left, Thursday, June 1, 1989 in London at Buckingham palace where the queen hosted a lunch for the first family.

Source: Town & Country, Marie Claire

“Her Majesty impressed me as someone who but for the circumstance of her birth, might have become a successful politician or diplomat. As it was, she had to be both, without quite seeming to be either,” President Bill Clinton wrote of the queen in his memoir.

Queen Elizabeth Bill Clinton
In this Saturday, June 4, 1994 file photo, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth smiles, as she sits alongside President Bill Clinton at a dinner in the Guildhall in Portsmouth, England, commemorating the 50th anniversary of D-Day.

Source: BBC America

In 2007, Queen Elizabeth poked some light-hearted fun at George W. Bush over his mistakenly saying she had to come to celebrate America’s bicentennial in 1776 instead of 1976.

Queen Elizabeth George W Bush
President Bush toasts with Queen Elizabeth II, left, during a State Dinner at the White House on Monday, May 7, 2007 in Washington

Source: The Guardian

In 2009, President Barack Obama gifted the queen an iPod with historical video footage of her previous visits to the US going back to the 1950s, as well as his 2009 inaugural address and 2008 speech at the Democratic National Convention.

Barack Obama Queen Elizabeth
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, and U.S. President Barack Obama during a state banquet in Buckingham Palace, London, on Tuesday May 24, 2011.

Source: BBC America

In her memoir “Becoming,” Michelle Obama described accidentally violating royal protocol by putting her arm around the queen as a show of affection and support, but says Her Majesty didn’t seem offended and reciprocated the gesture back.

Michelle Obama Queen Elizabeth
Michelle Obama, wife of U.S. President Barack Obama, left, walks with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II at the reception at Buckingham Palace in London Wednesday, April 1, 2009.

Sources: BBC America, Harper’s Bazaar

President Donald Trump was accused of committing several royal faux-pas during his summer 2018 visit to England – including being late to meet the queen at Windsor Castle, walking in front of her, shaking her hand instead of bowing, and turning his back to her.

Trump Queen Elizabeth
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, background and US President of the United States Donald Trump walk from the Quadrangle after inspecting the Guard of Honour, during the president’s visit to Windsor Castle,

Sources: USA Today, The New York Times

While the queen has been diplomatically mum on her opinions of Trump, he has praised Her Majesty. “If you think of it, for so many years she has represented her country, she has really never made a mistake. You don’t see, like, anything embarrassing. She is just an incredible woman,” Trump said of the queen before their meeting.

donald trump queen elizabeth II
US President Donald Trump; Queen Elizabeth II.

Source: Town & Country Magazine

Trump embarked on his second chance to connect with the queen in June 2019, when they opened the three-day state visit to the UK at Buckingham Palace. He joined her to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

donald trump queen
Melania Trump, Queen Elizabeth II, and President Donald Trump in June 2018.

Source: Business Insider

Now, the Bidens are set to meet with the Queen. On Friday, the First Lady and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, visited a school together in Cornwall.

Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, and First Lady Jill Biden visitng a school
Britain’s Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, left, and US First Lady Jill Biden, carrying carrots for the school rabbit, Storm, during a visit to Connor Downs Academy in Hayle, West Cornwall, during the G7 summit in England, Friday, June 11, 2021.

The Duchess and the First Lady paid a visit to the students at Connor Downs Academy and to one of the school’s rabbits, Storm.

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28 photos of some of the most adorable dogs to live in the White House

obama running dog
President Barack Obama and his dog Bo were very close.

  • Dogs are the most popular pet for a president to have during his time in the White House.
  • The Obamas’ dog Bo died from cancer, the family announced on Saturday.
  • The Bidens have two German shepherds, 13-year-old Champ and 3-year-old Major, who is a rescue.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Grover Cleveland’s cocker spaniel named Gallagher had a brown coat and ears of “inconvenient length.”

Grover Cleveland
Grover Cleveland with his dog Gallagher.

New York Times reporter Gray Gables wrote of Gallagher and Cleveland’s other dog Millie, “Both animals take great liberties with Mr. Cleveland when he is accessible to them and when not otherwise employed, are rolling each other about on the lawn.”

Warren Harding’s terrier, named Laddie Boy, was 6 months old when he moved into the White House.

Warren Harding dog
Laddie Boy, President Warren G. Harding’s terrier.

Laddie Boy learned to deliver the newspaper to the president’s breakfast table every morning.

Calvin Coolidge’s collie Rob Roy was named after the popular cocktail.

Calvin Coolidge dog
President Calvin Coolidge stands outdoors with his wife Grace, their two sons, and their pet white collie Rob Roy in the 1920s.

Coolidge was quoted as saying, “Any man who does not like dogs and want them about does not deserve to be in the White House.”

Herbert Hoover had a Belgian shepherd named King Tut, who would patrol the gates of the White House on a nightly basis.

Herbert Hoover dogs
President Herbert Hoover and first lady Lou Henry Hoover actually had several dogs, but King Tut was the most famous.

He also helped Hoover get elected by appearing in a campaign photo to help the candidate appear more approachable.

Franklin Roosevelt’s German shepherd, Major, used to chase the White House maids around.

Franklin Roosevelt dog
Franklin D. Roosevelt with pet dog, Major, a German shepherd.

A former police dog, Major caused an international incident in 1933 when he attacked the visiting British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald and nearly ripped his pants

FDR also had a Scottish terrier named Fala that would often accompany the president on his travels.

Franklin Roosevelt dog
President Franklin D. Roosevelt lifts his dog Fala as he prepares to motor from his special train to the Yacht Potomac at New London, Connecticut.

Roosevelt received Fala as an early Christmas present in 1940.

Harry Truman gave away his dog, a cocker spaniel named Feller, to a family physician because he was not a dog lover.

dog truman white house
Feller arrives at the White House in 1947.

Feller was sent to Truman by a supporter.

Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev gave John F. Kennedy a dog named Pushinka as a gift.

JFK dog
Pushinka stands her ground on the White House lawn in August 1963, while the rest of the family’s dogs vacation with the first family at Cape Cod.

Pushinka’s mother was one of the first dogs to fly into and return from space.

Other than Pushinka, JFK had eight dogs, including his German shepherd named Clipper.

JFK dogs
Clipper supervises as eight of the nine dogs of President John F. Kennedy’s household pose for impromptu press conference at Squaw Island, Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, in 1963.

The Kennedys also had horses, hamsters, parakeets, a canary, a cat, and a rabbit.

Two of Lyndon B. Johnson’s beagles, Him and Her, were frequently on the receiving end of the president pulling their long ears.

LBJ dogs
President Lyndon B. Johnson holds his dog Her by the ears.

The dogs became national celebrities thanks to a spread in Life magazine in 1964.

One of Lyndon B. Johnson’s beagles named Kim was given to his daughter Luci.

LBJ dog
Kim sticks his head through a partially-opened window of an automobile in 1966.

Kim was born when Him was bred with another beagle in 1965.

Luci also got another one of his beagles named Freckles.

LBJ dog
President Lyndon Johnson poses with Freckles in 1966.

Freckles was from the same litter as Kim.

LBJ found his fifth dog, a terrier mix named Yuki, at a Texas gas station on Thanksgiving in 1966.

LBJ dog
President Lyndon Johnson trots after Yuki in 1968.

Yuki accompanied Johnson to Cabinet meetings and the Oval Office.

Richard Nixon’s three dogs were an Irish setter named King Timahoe, a poodle named Vicki, and a terrier named Pasha.

Richard Nixon dogs
The three dogs of the Richard Nixon in Washington in 1972.

Nixon’s well-known dog Checkers of “Checkers speech” fame never actually lived in the White House.

Gerald Ford and his daughter Susan had a golden retriever named Liberty.

Gerald Ford dog
President Gerald Ford and his daughter, Susan on the South Lawn of the White House in 1974.

Susan got Liberty as a surprise for her father when she was a puppy. Years later, Liberty had nine puppies of her own.

Jimmy Carter had a border collie mix named Grits that was born on the same day Carter was elected president.

Jimmy Carter dog
President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter play with their dog Grits in 1978.

Grits was a gift from his daughter Amy’s teacher.

Ronald Reagan had two White House dogs. The one seen here was a Bouvier des Flandres named Lucky that Nancy Reagan received as a gift in 1984.

Ronald Reagan dog
President Ronald Reagan is pulled along by his pet dog Lucky in 1985.

Lucky never fully adjusted to life in the White House, so the Reagans sent her back to their California ranch in 1985.

Reagan’s other dog in the White House was a Charles spaniel named Rex.

Ronald Reagan dog
President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan walk with their dog Rex in 1986.

Rex was a gift from conservative writer and commentator William F. Buckley.

George H.W. Bush had two springer spaniels, Millie and Ranger.

George HW Bush dogs
President George Bush gets down on his knees to show off his dogs, Millie and Ranger, in 1991.

Millie was the star of the book “Millie’s Book: As Dictated to Barbara Bush” in 1992.

Bill Clinton named his chocolate Labrador retriever Buddy after his great-uncle.

Bill Clinton dog
President Bill Clinton is greeted by his dog Buddy in 1998.

Buddy became best friends with the Clintons’ cat, Socks.

George W. Bush and his first dog in the White House, an English springer spaniel named Spot, was one of Millie’s puppies.

George W Bush dog
President George W. Bush waves as he walks toward the Oval Office with his dog Spot in 2002.

Spot was known as a friendly, obedient dog that would accompany Bush to meetings.

Bush also had two Scottish terriers named Barney and Miss Beazley, who were separated in age by four years.

George W Bush dogs
President George W. Bush waves as he arrives on the South Lawn of the White House with his dogs, Barney and Miss Beazley, in 2006.

Barney died in of lymphoma in 2013.

The Obamas had two famous Portuguese water dogs named Bo and Sunny.

GettyImages 508201166
The Obamas with Bo and Sunny in the Rose Garden of the White House in 2015.

Bo was a gift for Sasha and Malia Obama after their father won the presidency.

Bo and Sunny were so popular that they apparently had official White House schedules for all of their appearances.

barack obama bo
President Barack Obama and Bo in the Oval Office.

“I get a memo at the beginning of the month with a request for their schedules, and I have to approve their appearances,” first lady Michelle Obama told PBS in 2016.

The Obama family announced Bo’s death from cancer on Saturday.

obama bo
President Barack Obama runs down the East Colonnade with Bo in 2009.

“Today our family lost a true friend and loyal companion,” President Barack Obama wrote on Twitter. “For more than a decade, Bo was a constant, gentle presence in our lives — happy to see us on our good days, our bad days, and everyday in between.”

The Bidens adopted Major in November 2018, and he joined Champ as the family’s second German shepherd.

champ major biden dogs
President Joe Biden plays with the Biden family dogs Champ and Major in 2021.

Major was the last rank Biden’s son Beau held in the US Army JAG Corps before he died from a brain tumor in 2015.

President Joe Biden’s dog Major is the first shelter dog to live in the White House.

joe biden major
Joe Biden with Major.

Major has had some trouble adjusting to life in the White House, biting a Secret Service member and a National Park Service employee in two separate incidents.

When she was the second lady, Jill Biden created the Family Heritage Garden at the vice president’s residence, which memorializes all past residents and their dogs on stone pavers.

biden dog garden at vp residence
The Family Heritage Garden, where occupants and family members, including pets, are memorialized around a fountain as seen in October 2016.

The Bidens are also expected to welcome a cat to the White House.

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A breakdown of gun terminology to help you in discussions on mass shootings and debates over gun control

AR 15
AR-15 rifles are displayed for sale at the Guntoberfest gun show in Oaks, Pennsylvania, on October 6, 2017.

  • The language surrounding firearms can be tricky.
  • “Assault-weapons,” for example, is among the most divisive phrases in debates over gun control.
  • There’s been a renewed discussion over gun control following recent mass shootings.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Given the ongoing and divisive debate over gun control in the US, it’s helpful to understand the breakdown of some of the most important terms that frequently come up after mass shootings.

Some of these terms might appear inconsequential, but they relate strongly to discussions on what type of guns and firearm accessories should be regulated more strictly or even banned. And some in the pro-Second Amendment camp have been known to mock people calling for new gun laws when they use incorrect terminology in reference to firearms.

In the renewed discussion surrounding gun control following two high-profile mass shootings in Atlanta and Boulder, Colorado, that occurred less than a week apart, familiar disagreements are arising over terminology surrounding firearms.

Here’s a summary of some of the more common and contentious terms linked to guns and the broader discourse surrounding them in the US.

Semi-automatic vs. automatic

Semi automatic
Customers view semi-automatic guns on display at a gun shop in Los Angeles, California, on December 19, 2012.

A semi-automatic firearm refers to a gun that fires a single round or bullet each time the trigger is squeezed or pulled, and then automatically reloads the chamber between shots. 

An automatic firearm is essentially what many Americans likely think of as a machine gun, or a firearm that continuously fires while the trigger is squeezed or pulled and reloads the chamber automatically.

The vast majority of firearms in the US are semi-automatic and include rifles and handguns. Semi-automatic firearms are available across the US with few restrictions. 

Automatic weapons are heavily regulated and expensive.

The manufacture and importation of new automatic firearms has been prohibited since the Firearm Owners’ Protection Act of 1986. But this still allows for the purchase of automatic firearms made before a certain date in 1986, meaning automatics are technically legal in certain circumstances.

Magazine vs. clip

A gun and a magazine is pictured in this evidence photo released by the Connecticut State Police on December 27, 2013.

“Magazine” and “clip” are often used interchangeably, though they aren’t the same thing. 

A magazine is a container that holds cartridges or rounds of ammunition and feeds them into the firing chamber of a gun. Some magazines are internal, while others are detachable. 

A clip holds multiple rounds of ammunition together, often on a metal strip, to be fed into a magazine. Most guns have magazines (revolvers and some types of shotguns do not have magazines), but not all firearms use clips. 





Assault weapons
Frank Loane, owner of Pasadena Pawn and Gun, stands in front of a wall of assault rifles at his store in Pasadena, Maryland, on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013.

“Assault-weapons” is among the most contentious phrases in discussions on gun control.

There’s not a universal definition of what an assault weapon is, which is part of the reason this subject tends to antagonize the gun lobby or pro-gun advocates. 

But in 1994, after the now-expired assault-weapons ban passed, the Justice Department said, “In general, assault weapons are semiautomatic firearms with a large magazine of ammunition that were designed and configured for rapid fire and combat use.”

The gun industry often defines an assault rifle as a firearm with “select fire capabilities,” or the ability to adjust or switch the firearm between semi-automatic and automatic settings or modes.

In short, pro-Second Amendment groups typically say a firearm should only be called an assault-weapon when it’s capable of fully automatic fire — or they reject the terminology altogether. 

“None of the so-called ‘assault rifles’ legally owned by US civilians are assault rifles as the term is used in military contexts,” Florida State University criminal justice professor emeritus Gary Kleck, told PolitiFact.

Kleck added, “Assault rifles used by members of the military can all fire full automatic, like machine guns, as well as one shot at a time, whereas none of the so-called ‘assault rifles’ legally owned by US civilians can fire full automatic.”

Based on the idiosyncrasies of this issue and the broader debate surrounding it, many gun control advocates tend to refer to semi-automatic firearms that have been used in mass shootings as “assault-style” or “military-style” weapons. 

Polling has consistently shown that the vast majority of Americans would support an assault-weapons ban. 


AR 15
AR-15 rifles are displayed for sale at the Guntoberfest gun show in Oaks, Pennsylvania, on October 6, 2017.

The AR-15 is a semi-automatic rifle and has been referred to by the National Rifle Association as “America’s most popular rifle.” 

The “AR” in AR-15 does not stand for “assault rifle,” but is linked to the original manufacturer of the firearm: ArmaLite, Inc. The name stands for ArmaLite Rifle. 

The AR-15 was originally developed by ArmaLite to be a military rifle, designing it for fast reloading in combat situations, but the company hit financial troubles. By 1959, ArmaLite sold the design of the AR-15 to Colt, which had success in pitching it to the US military.

The rifle’s automatic version, the M-16, was used during the Vietnam War. Meanwhile, Colt sold the semi-automatic version, the AR-15, to the public and police. 

“If you’re a hunter, camper, or collector, you’ll want the AR-15 Sporter,” a 1963 advertisement for the firearm said.

Colt’s patent on the rifle’s operating system expired in 1977, opening the door for other manufacturers to copy the technology and make their own models. 

The AR-15 was prohibited from 1994 to 2004 via the assault weapons ban. Gun manufacturers promptly reintroduced the AR-15 after the ban expired, and sales went way up. 

There are “well over 11 million” AR-15 style rifles in the hands of Americans, according to an investigation by CBS News’s “60 Minutes,” which also notes handguns kill “far more people.”

But AR-15 style rifles have frequently been used in mass shootings, placing the firearm at the center of the debate over gun control — particularly in relation to whether an assault weapons ban should be reimposed. 

High-capacity magazines

High capacity magazines
Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut speaks at a news conference on a proposed amendment to ban high-capacity magazines in guns in Washington, DC, on February 12, 2019.

High or large-capacity magazines are typically defined as ammunition-feeding devices holding more than 10 rounds. Nine states currently ban high-capacity magazines.

High-capacity magazines are capable of holding up to 100 rounds of ammunition, allowing for dozens of shots to be fired off before reloading. The rifle used in a 2019 mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, was affixed with a 100-round drum magazine.


Bump stock

Bump stock
A bump fire stock that attaches to a semi-automatic rifle to increase the firing rate is seen at Good Guys Gun Shop in Orem, Utah, on October 4, 2017.

A bump stock is an attachment that allows a semi-automatic weapon to fire at a more rapid rate. 

It replaces the standard stock of a rifle, or the part of the firearm that rests against the shoulder. A bump stock uses the recoil effect to bounce the rifle off of the shoulder of the shooter, which in turn causes the trigger to continuously bump back into the shooter’s trigger finger. 

In effect, bump stocks allow semi-automatic weapons to fire like machine guns. 

Bump stocks were banned by the Trump administration in a large part due to the Las Vegas shooting in 2017, which was the deadliest mass shooting in US history.


Red flag law

FILE PHOTO: A woman holds a sign during a rally against guns and white supremacy in the wake of mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso in front of the White House in Washington, U.S., August 6, 2019.  REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo
Rally against guns and white supremacy in front of the White House in Washington

Red flag laws, also known as Extreme Risk laws, allow judges to temporarily confiscate a person’s firearms if they’re considered a danger to themselves or others. 

Nineteen states and Washington, DC, have implemented some form of a red flag law, according to Everytown for Gun Safety: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

Gun show loophole

gun show
In this Jan. 26, 2013 file photo, a customer looks over shotguns on display at the annual New York State Arms Collectors Association Albany Gun Show at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany, New York.

The so-called “gun show loophole” is among the most discussed topics in relation to calls for gun reform advocates for expanded background checks.

“Gun show loophole” is a catch-all phrase referring to the sale of firearms by unlicensed, private sellers at gun shows and other venues — including the internet — without the involvement of background checks. 

Federally licensed gun dealers are required to run background checks, but not all sellers are required to be licensed — laws vary from state to state. In this sense, there is a “loophole” that allows private sellers to sell firearms without conducting background checks. 

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) is the federal agency that licenses gun dealers.

“As a general rule, you will need a license if you repetitively buy and sell firearms with the principal motive of making a profit,” the ATF states. “In contrast, if you only make occasional sales of firearms from your personal collection, you do not need to be licensed.”

The implementation of a federal law requiring universal background checks, or background checks for all gun sales, has been at the top of the wish list for gun control advocates for years.

It’s also a policy that the vast majority of Americans support. According to polling conducted by Pew Research Center in late 2018, 91% of Democrats and 79% of Republicans favor background checks for private gun sales and sales at gun shows.

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