President Obama announces executive actions to curb gun violence & wants Congress to beef up background checks & ban assault weapons

01/16/13 wire reports
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President Barack Obama has announced a $500 million package of executive actions and legislative proposals aimed at reducing gun violence a month after a mass shooting in Connecticut killed 20 elementary school children. Obama signed 23 executive actions — which require no congressional approval — including several aimed at improving access to data for background checks. A presidential memorandum will instruct the Centers for Disease Control to research causes and prevention of gun violence.

"These are a few of the 23 executive actions that I'm announcing today. As important as these steps are they are in no way a subustitute for action from members of Congress. To make a real and lasting difference, Congress too must act and Congress must act soon. I'm calling on Congress to pass some very specific proposals right away. First it's time for Congress to enact a universal background check for anyone trying to buy a gun."

A new Associated Press-GfK poll finds 84 percent of adults would like to see the establishment of a federal standard for background checks for people buying guns at gun shows. Nearly six in 10 Americans want stricter gun laws in general. In addition to the background check, Obama wants Congress to ban assault rifles and large-capacity magazines.

"Congress should restore a ban on military style assault weapons and a ten round limit for magazines. The type of assault weapon used in Aurora, for example, when paired with high capacity magazines has one purpose. To pump out as many bullets as possible as quickly as possible. To do as much damage, using bullets often designed to inflict maximum damage. That's what allowed the gunman in Aurora to shoot 70 people. 70 people, killing 12 in a matter of minutes. Weapons designed for the theater of war have no place in a movie theater. A majority of Americans agree with us on this. By the way, so did Ronald Reagan, one of the staunchest defenders of the Second Amendment who wrote to Congress in 1994 urging them, this is Ronald Reagan speaking, urging them to listen to the American public and to the law enforcement community and support a ban on the further manufacture of military style assault weapons. Finally Congress needs to help, rather than hinder law enforcement as it does it's job. We should get tougher on people who buy guns with the express purpose of turning around and selling them to criminals. We should severely punish anybody who helps them do this. Since Congress hasn't confirmed a director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in six years they should confirm Todd Jones who has been acting and I will be nominating for the post."

The poll found a majority of Americans favor a nationwide ban on military-style, rapid-fire weapons. In a nod to calls for more school security, Obama said his administration would provide incentives for schools to hire more police officers as part of his overall package of anti-gun violence initiatives and proposals. It’s something the gun lobby has called for. Before the announcement the National Rifle Association criticized Obama in a video on its website.

"Are the President's kids more important than yours? Then why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools when his kids are protected by armed guards at their school? Mr. Obama demands the wealthy pay their fare share of taxes but he's just another elitist hypocrite when it comes to a fair share of security. Protection for their kids and gun free zones for ours."

The White House calls the video repugnant and cowardly. Obama spokesperson Jay Carney says most Americans agree that a president's children should not be used as pawns in a political fight.

information from the Associated Press was used in this report

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