Today, President Obama is pushing for a wide range of new gun laws after Vice President Joe Biden had a series of meetings with everyone from the NRA to video game creators.
Speaking to family members of those killed in the Sandy Hook massacre and children who wrote letters to the White House expressing concern about gun violence, Mr. Obama outlined their findings and actions being proposed, stating he would use “whatever weight this office holds” to get it through.
“Because while there is no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence completely, no piece of legislation that will prevent every tragedy, every act of evil, if there’s even one thing we can do to reduce this violence, if there’s even one life that can be saved, then we’ve got an obligation to try,” he said. “This is our first task as a society: Keeping our children safe. This is how we will be judged. And their voices should compel us to change.”
The president, who was accompanied by Vice President Biden onstage, outlined a series of steps both political and administrative he says would limit access to guns and certain types of ammunition, make mental health care more attainable, and increase federal funds for both research and law enforcement. Invoking the words of children who wrote to him in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook murders, he urged Americans to demand change from Congress — and “get them on the record” about their positions on his various proposals.
“This will not happen unless the American people demand it,” he said.
CBS News 01/16/2013
It includes 23 executive orders that Obama plans to address immediately, without the need for approval by Congress.
Among the specific proposals:
• Keeping guns out of the wrong hands. The White House is proposing “universal background checks” designed to get at private gun sales that are not covered by the current system, which applies to federally licensed dealers. The plan also includes four executive orders designed to remove barriers to information sharing among state and federal agencies.
• Restricting “weapons of war.” Obama’s plan calls for limiting ammunition magazines to no more than 10 rounds. The document notes that the Newtown killings and the July attack in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., involved the kinds of semi-automatic weapons that were targeted by the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004. The administration also wants to maintain the effort to ban armor-piercing bullets.
The president is also proposing harsher punishments for gun trafficking between states, as well as federal money to help cities pay for more police officers.
In addition, Obama nominated a new leader for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; his previous nominee has been held up for years.
• School safety. The plan proposes money to help local school districts hire 1,000 new school resource officers and school counselors.
• Mental health. The administration is proposing Project AWARE, which stands for Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education. It would be designed to reach some 750,00 people to identify mental illness early in young people and refer them for treatment.
DesMoines Register 01/16/2013