Focus at Four: Is this time different for gun control?

President Donald Trump has said he will host three "listening sessions" to get input from Americans on how to tackle mass shootings in American schools. On Thursday, he sat down with local lawmakers and officials after a discussion with students, parents and teachers.

Kirby Goidel, research fellow at the Texas A&M Public Policy Institute and professor in the Department of Communication says sometimes presidents do 'listening sessions' to appear to be taking action, but actually forestall doing so--and sometimes they do it to build momentum toward action.

"I think in this case, since we're talking about gun control and a Republican president, what we're probably talking about is making sure to appear empathetic, making sure to listen to some of the concerns," said Goidel. "There may be some changes on the margins, but not a lot of policy action to follow, at least not with guns."

It's those 'marginal' actions that Goidel says is probably all gun control activists will see this time around.

"If something big doesn't happen fairly quickly, then a lot of times you're not going to see much," Goidel said. "Acting on bump stocks is nice: it can limit some of the effectiveness of guns. But this isn't a major action; it's a minor action."

However, Goidel says this time could be different: the students themselves speaking out adds a new dynamic.

"These high school students have stood up and said we want change," Goidel said. Still, he says it's unclear whether that will matter in the long run.

"The people who are pro-gun are very committed," said Goidel. "The people who want gun control are less committed, and they lose attention--other issues come up."

"The people who are pro-gun kind of wait it out a little bit and wait for the issue to die down," Goidel said.

For more from Goidel on this topic, see the video player above.