On Tuesday morning, President Barack Obama unveiled his executive order on gun control. After battling it out with Congress for several years and getting nowhere, the president chose to act alone. But Congress still needs to address the issue, despite his executive order, he said.
“We do have to feel a sense of urgency about it. In Dr. King’s words, we need to feel the fierce urgency of now.”
He also made it clear during his press conference that he is not out to take anyone’s guns and only wants sensible gun control.
“I believe in the Second Amendment, there written on paper, that guarantees the right to bear arms. No matter how many times people try to twist my words around, that’s our constitutional law. I know a little bit about this. But I also believe that we can find ways to reduce gun violence consistent with the Second Amendment.”
Before the president spoke, the crowd gave him a standing ovation. Mark Barden, a parent who lost a child in the Sandy Hook shooting, introduced Obama.
Valerie Jarrett, White House Senior Adviser, told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that this isn’t a president being dictatorial. It’s a president doing the job Congress has failed to do.
“The President isn’t circumventing Congress — he is doing what is clearly in his authority to do.”
When unveiling his executive action on gun control, Obama’s words expressed an enormous sense of frustration with congressional inaction into closing what’s commonly known as the “gunshow loophole.” This loophole enables private sellers to skip background checks and exempts them from keeping official sales records.
He also revealed several steps that may also prevent future mass shootings, including better access to mental health care. President Obama noted that mass shootings “tend to highlight” mental health issues and that nearly two out of three gun deaths are suicides.
The normally stoic and cool president could not contain his emotions during his address. Surrounded by gun control activists, Obama wiped tears from his face as he addressed the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
Every time I think about these kids, it gets me mad. And by the way, it happens on the streets of Chicago every day.”
Obama became more impassioned as he continued his speech.
“Our unalienable right to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Those rights were stripped from college kids in Blacksburg and Santa Barbara. And from high schoolers at Columbine. And from first graders in Newtown. First graders. And from every family who never imagined that their loved one would be taken by a bullet from a gun.”
Obama’s gun control plan clarifies what “private seller” means and what types of sellers are exempt from background checks. He also added that the FBI will add 230 new agents to help speed up background checks.
“Anybody in the business of selling firearms must get a license… or be subject to criminal prosecutions. It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing it over the Internet or a gun show.”
CNN noted that directly after Sandy Hook, some members of the Democratic party voted against gun control measures, in direct opposition to Obama, because they feared the repercussions from their constituents. However, in the last several years, public support for sensible gun control seems to have has increased.
A Quinnipiac University poll from this past December shows that 89 percent of those surveyed agree with President Obama on better gun control measures that include expanded background checks. This includes 84 percent of people living in households with guns. Interesting, this poll also shows that 87 percent of Republicans and 86 percent of Independents also support expanded background checks. Ninety-five percent of Democrats also support increased background checks and gun control legislation.
Obama reiterated again that his measures were not meant to usurp the Second Amendment.
“Contrary to claims of some presidential candidates apparently before this meeting, this is not a plot to take away everybody’s guns. You pass a background check, you can purchase a firearm.”
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