President Barack Obama on Tuesday called for a nationwide effort to put an end to gun violence.
The President even became emotional as he recalled what happened to the kids at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012.
“Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad,” said Obama, who was introduced by Mark Barden, whose son was killed in the incident.
Obama gave the emotional speech at the White House’s East Room, where some of the guests include victims of gun violence in recent years.
In his call to stop gun violence, Pres. Obama wants to implement new gun control policies. he wants to expand the background checks for individuals who purchase guns and other weapons.
In addition, he also wants more weapon dealers to acquire licenses and reduce the number of small sellers who are exempted from getting the right documentation. He said that most of these unlicensed and exempted small sellers do not keep formal sales records.
Pres. Obama also lashed out at Republicans and certain weapon advocate groups like the National Rifle Association who do not support such gun control policies.
He emphasized that the new policies do not aim to take away everyone’s guns, but to make sure that everyone who purchases a gun has been checked.
The Commander-in-Chief even compared the call for improved gun control policies to the government’s previous actions against traffic fatalities, requiring fingerprints to unlock iPads, and product designs that keep children from opening aspirin bottles.
“We know we can’t stop every act of violence, every act of evil in the world. But maybe we could try to stop one act of evil, one act of violence”
The President also called out Congress, who in 2013 blocked a gun bill that aimed to impose the same actions that he is pushing now.
He said that Congress needs to act and that his administration will not rest until it’s done its job. He believes that once Congress supports his call to action, gun violence can be reduced “a whole lot.”
While waiting for Congress to make the right move, Obama said that he would also work on other things, particularly providing more funds for “mental health treatment, FBI staff and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives agents.”
Meanwhile, Obama’s speech was targeted by criticisms from both Republicans and gun advocates.
Chris W. Cox of the National Rifle Association said that Americans “do not need more emotional, condescending lectures” that do not show any factual details at all.
Senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz even put up a web page, in which a commando-wearing Obama gets the caption “Obama Wants Your Guns.”
Meanwhile, there are also some who share the same ideas as the President and are willing to support his call for tighter gun control policies.
Dan Gross, who is the president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, shared on Twitter that he became emotional as well after hearing Obama’s speech.
“One of the most moving things I’ve ever seen,” he said.
Even Democratic presidential frontrunner Hilary Clinton commended Pres. Obama in “taking a crucial step forward on gun violence.” She added that if elected, she would continue to fight for stricter gun policies.
It is not the first time that the public got to see the emotional side of Pres. Obama. But as reported by TIME, his emotions during the speech may have been brought about by the seeming futility of his efforts to stop gun violence. His recent initiatives on gun control have always been blocked by Congress, thereby failing to impose stricter sanctions to those who violate human rights through the use of guns.
[Photo by Chip Somodevila/Getty Images]