President Obama: For all of the Americans who are counting on us to keep them safe from harm, let’s do the right thing.
Julian: President Obama spelled out his proposals for tougher gun control surrounded by some of the children who wrote to him in the days following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary.
President Obama: While reducing gun violence is a complicated challenge, protecting our children from harm shouldn’t be a divisive one.
Julian: Topping the president’s list of proposals, anyone who buys a gun, even those who purchase weapons at guns shows or from private dealers, will have to undergo criminal and mental health background checks.
The president is also asking Congress for a tougher federal law on gun trafficking – buying and selling guns – to crack down on sellers who do not carry out thorough background checks. And he wants to set aside more federal funds for those background checks, and for the people needed to respond to background check requests. And he is asking for more federal agents to inspect gun shops.
Mr. Obama is also going after high-powered weapons and ammunition. He supports a ban on magazine clips that carry more than ten bullets, and a ban on assault weapons – guns that can fire a lot of bullets in a short time.
The National Rifle Association, a group which opposes restrictions on guns, says it will fight the president’s plan. And the group says it has a lot of support. In the month since the elementary school shooting in Newtown, the NRA says it has signed on another quarter of a million new members. One NRA official is quoted as saying that ‘every time the president talks about bans on guns, people sign up.’
The president’s proposals still have to be passed by Congress and it will be a tough sell since there is a lot of opposition from Republicans.
Rep. Dave Reichert: The assault weapons ban, the magazine limitations, does not solve the problem of gun crime.
Julian: But Mr. Obama also announced twenty-three executive actions on gun control that don’t need the approval of Congress, including new programs to stop school bullying and increase mental health services, and money for schools to hire about 1,000 armed security guards.