0

Obama unveils biggest gun-control push in decades

U.S. President Barack Obama, flanked by 8-year old letter writer Hinna Zeejah (L), 10-year old letter writer Taejah Goode (3rd L), 11-year old letter writer Julia Stokes and 8-year old letter writer Grant Fritz (R, signs executive orders on gun violence during an event at the White House in Washington, January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed

U.S. President Barack Obama, flanked by 8-year old letter writer Hinna Zeejah (L), 10-year old letter writer Taejah Goode (3rd L), 11-year old letter writer Julia Stokes and 8-year old letter writer Grant Fritz (R, signs executive orders on gun violence during an event at the White House in Washington, January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama proposed a new assault weapons ban and mandatory background checks for all gun buyers on Wednesday as he tried to channel national outrage over the Newtown school massacre into the biggest U.S. gun-control push in decades.

Rolling out a wide-ranging plan for executive and legislative action to curb gun violence, Obama set up a fierce clash with the powerful U.S. gun lobby and its supporters in Congress, who will resist what they see as an encroachment on constitutionally protected gun rights.

Obama presented his agenda at a White House event in front of an audience that included relatives of some of the 20 first-graders who were killed along with six adults by a gunman on Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

"We can't put this off any longer," Obama said, vowing to use "whatever weight this office holds" to make his proposals reality. "Congress must act soon."

Until now, Obama had done little to rein in America's gun culture during his first four years in office. But just days before his second inauguration, he appears determined to champion gun control in his next term with a concerted drive for tighter laws and other steps aimed at preventing new tragedies like the one at Newtown.

The proposals stem from a month-long review led by Vice President Joe Biden, who on orders from Obama met with advocates on both sides, including representatives from the weapons and entertainment industries.

Obama's plan calls on Congress to renew a prohibition on assault weapons sales that expired in 2004, a requirement for criminal background checks on all gun purchases, including closing a loophole for gun show sales, and a new federal gun trafficking law - long sought by big-city mayors to keep out-of-state guns off their streets.

He also announced 23 steps he intends to take immediately without congressional approval. These include improvements in the existing system for background checks, lifting the ban on federal research into gun violence, putting more counselors and "resource officers" in schools and better access to mental health services.

ASSAULT WEAPONS BATTLE

The most politically contentious piece of the package is Obama's call for a renewed ban on military-style assault weapons, a move that Republicans who control the House of Representatives are expected to oppose.

The Newtown gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, used a Bushmaster AR-15 type assault rifle to shoot his victims, many of them 6- and 7-year-olds, before killing himself.

Underscoring the tough political fight ahead, the National Rifle Association launched a scathing advertising campaign against Obama's gun control effort and deployed its representatives in force on Capitol Hill.

The NRA, which says it has about 4 million members, took aim at Obama in a stinging TV and Internet spot, accusing him of being "just another elitist hypocrite" for accepting Secret Service protection for his two daughters but turning down the lobby group's proposal to put armed guards in all schools.

As he announced the new gun measures, Obama was flanked on the stage by children from around the country chosen from among those who sent letters to him about gun violence and school safety.

"We should learn from what happened at Sandy Hook. I feel really bad," a boy wrote in a portion that Obama read from the podium.

With gun ownership rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, gun restrictions have long been a divisive - and risky - issue in American politics.

But polls show that public sentiment shifted in favor of increased gun-control measures after the Newtown shooting, and Obama hopes to take advantage while there is a mood for action in Washington.

However, the White House is mindful that the clock is ticking. The usual pattern after U.S. shooting tragedies is that memories of the events soon fade, making it hard to sustain a push for gun policy changes.

Obama acknowledged the political challenges but made clear that he is prepared to take on the NRA, despite its widespread support among Republicans and significant backing among Democrats.

He warned that opponents of his effort would try to "gin up fear" and urged lawmakers to think more about the safety of schoolchildren than trying to "get an 'A' grade from the gun lobby that supports their campaign."

Obama's plan appears to tread cautiously on the question of whether violent movies and video games contribute to the gun violence, which would open up issues of freedom of expression.

A senior administration official said, however, that Obama would be asking for $10 million for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study the root causes of gun violence, including any relationship to video games and media images.

Seeking to jump-start his plan, Obama also nominated Todd Jones to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, quietly abandoning Andrew Traver, whose nomination for the job has long been stalled. Jones is currently the acting director of the law enforcement agency.

Comments

Jan 1 year, 3 months ago

Read the constitution and the Federalists Papers. It is clear that the framers intended the "well regulated militia" to be of prominent consideration. It is also clear that part of establishing a militia would involve proper training in the use of the arms. Add to that two facts - First: The founding fathers did not even conceived of the idea of multiple shot weapons, in fact none existed until after the death of all of them. Second, since no mention was made of the right to buy bullets, we are open to regulate the purchase of ammunition. Regulating bullet sales would be more effective in a shorter time and yet, to my knowledge, no politician has proposed this idea. For a state to circumvent any federal law on gun control, the state would need to establish and train a militia. Do you want your taxes to increase to pay for this?

0

NorcrossDot 1 year, 3 months ago

You Jan are so wrong. Re-read the Constitution. It is to keep citizens armed to be able to defend themselves against enemies foreign and domestic. Yes I would love for Georgia to have a trained militia. Now seems to be the time. America faces its worst enemy from within than ever before.

2

Jan 1 year, 3 months ago

In 2008, the Supreme Court made history by ruling in the first case in history of America that ruled The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia. In the Courts decision Scalia wrote that the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/District_of_Columbia_v._Heller I suggest you take the time to check facts before echoing the talking points you heard from your favorite right wing extremist.

0

jack 1 year, 3 months ago

Jan- The ruling merely affirmed the individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia. The ruling did not mean that, prior to 2008, it was unlawful to do so.

1

kevin 1 year, 3 months ago

We should all be buying big guns because the time is near for our next civil war. It is coming. The government against its people.

0

NewsReader 1 year, 3 months ago

Jan, I have no doubt you read The Constitution and The Federalist Papers. I do have serious doubts about your comprehension and interpretation of it which is why it troubles me so that the likes of people like you were ever allowed to teach and indoctrinate America's children into believing in the disease that is a liberal philosophy. You are beyond stupid as you have so repeatedly demonstrated with each and every post you make. One of these days, the rest of the population is going to wake up and say "oh no, what have we done?" And hopefully, God willing, it won't be too late.

3

notblind 1 year, 3 months ago

Smart enough to vote, though !! It's why the country is so terminally fouled up.

3

DavidBrown 1 year, 3 months ago

John, your comment should be deleted for that expletive ending your first sentence. You need to show more respect for President Obama. I didn't vote for President Bush in either 2000 or 2004, but I respected him and prayed regularly for him, Laura, Jenna and Barbara.

0

kevin 1 year, 3 months ago

you always love your enemies, in order to keep them closer.

2

Mack711 1 year, 3 months ago

How can he get around the Constituion? Shoud his proposal become law all it will do is to take the firearms away from legal citizens and place them in the hands of criminals. We all know that the criminal element will never comply with any weapons regulations or laws. thus leaving us defenseless against the criminal element. Police forces are out gunned against the criminal element around the country now. His plan was basically tried back during the Clinton adminstration and was not sucessful as this one will not be.

2

Jan 1 year, 3 months ago

The Assault weapons ban was passed in 1994 and expired in 2004. The gun related deaths declined significantly from 1994 until 199, then remained statistically almost even until 2004 when gun deaths started again increasing. Check m the reference in my response to NorcrossDot above for the problems with the NRA interpretation of the Constitution. No one seriously believes that all guns banned by the law would disappear overnight, If it is not legal to sell certain weapons in the US, and gun manufacturers must get government permission to ship guns to other countries, we will see a decline in the number of these weapons available for criminals.

0

jack 1 year, 3 months ago

"If it is not legal to sell certain weapons in the US, and gun manufacturers must get government permission to ship guns to other countries, we will see a decline in the number of these weapons available for criminals."

I suspect we would see an increase in gun smuggling and a robust black market. You keep ignoring that criminals don't obey laws.

3

notblind 1 year, 3 months ago

Jan doesn't wish to see criminals denied their livelihoods. Poor dears can't help themselves. It's the law abiding citizens that don't share Jan's ideology that are the real enemy.

2

Jan 1 year, 3 months ago

Please be honest. The only thing this shows is how your extreme prejudice makes you be selective in what you read. Almost every politicians has used children as props. George Bush was using children as props when the towers were hit on 911. "If you want to get elected, be prepared to kiss a lot of babies." http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=pfdz3akcvi2u4z0hg9b4szjrlink text

0

JV 1 year, 3 months ago

You linked a website referencing Comics, Animated Films and SITCOMS? And you ask me to be honest? Am I to take you seriously? I think not.

1

Jan 1 year, 3 months ago

I thought you might enjoy a laugh while at the same time understanding that using children as props is so common that it is often satirized.

0

Veryconcernedcitizen 1 year, 3 months ago

One difference with George Bush, he just happened to be visiting an elementary school on 9/11. Those children were not intentional props. Hitler and Stalin used children to great effect in pictures and movie news reels. I guess Obama is reverting to his socialist roots.

3

news2me 1 year, 3 months ago

George Bush was using children as props when the towers were hit on 911

Jan you ignorant s***, GWB was AT that elementary school when the event occured.

3

notblind 1 year, 3 months ago

"...shall not be infringed." What does that mean ?? Nothing, obviously. :eyeroll:

2

Jan 1 year, 3 months ago

So you like things out of context! from the Bible: Matthew 27:5 "...he went away and hanged himself" Luke 10:37 "...Go and do likewise". I know you are smart enough to understand that this is out of context and is not a recommended course of action. Why do you want to act like others are so dumb that they do not understand how you have selectively ignored the majority of the 2nd amendment? You might also observe that it only gives the right to bear arms; (as Scalia pointed out in the landmark decision) it does not give one a right to carry any weapon desired and weapon restrictions are constitutional.

0

tommcd 1 year, 2 months ago

You are the person that seems to have a problem with "out of context"! Your ignorant remark just shows typical liberal selective use of words. "Shall not be infringed" is a direct quote from the Constitution, you should know that. Or maybe, since your "lord and master", Obama chooses to ignore it, that's good enough for you.

0

TOWG 1 year, 3 months ago

Came to the comments section of this article to read the predictable rants of the usual group of liberal loons. Leaving satisfied! Thanks for the laughs.

2

Jan 1 year, 3 months ago

And as usual, we see those without any facts unable to comment without a barrage of childish insults.

0

NewsReader 1 year, 3 months ago

And as usual, Jan...oh, never mind. Thank God, you are retired!

3

Veryconcernedcitizen 1 year, 3 months ago

I got an idea! How about we all keep the bible and religion out of this? This is about the 2nd Amend. and balancing it with modern day common sense. Would the founding fathers agree with legality of owning a military assualt rifle capable of carrying 30 rounds or more? However these men did see the value in having armed citizens. Seeing how a bunch of untrained farmers had just beat the worlds biggest military superpower I could see why they saw the need for the 2nd Amend. After WWII we learned one of the reasons the Japanese did not invade the West Coast even after our very own Army Chief of Staff said the US would not be able stop the Japs until they reached Chicago. Can you believe it was because of the Japanese perception of US citizens. They thought every American owned a gun and knew how to use it. Obviously that is an incorrect perception, but by just having an unrestricted 2nd Amend. we gave an invading Army reason to pause.

2

notblind 1 year, 3 months ago

You blew your credibility with the "...modern day common sense..." line. How about this - The framers intended for the citizens to have state of the art small arms. Otherwise those smart gentlemen would have told us exactly what arms the citizens should have been limited to instead of directing the government to "...not infringe."

2

news2me 1 year, 3 months ago

The liberals use religion, racism, etc.. as a shield against any intelligent conversation or debate. Modern day common sense is stooping to their level.

3

kevin 1 year, 3 months ago

I have no problem with having more background checks only. However, everything the Feds are doing should be wrong. This is a State's Rights issue and not a Federal issue to regulate. You surely won't be able to defend yourself against this government unless you have some mighty high-powered weapons. Look at what the Feds will bring to you if they ever take us over. Don't laugh. It has happened many times before in other countries and I do not put this past this socialist government that feels it can do anything thing it feels like doing. Just look at Obama's ramming stuff down the throats of Congress and the people without the Congress being the ones to make the laws.

0

Sign in to comment