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Obama unveils $500 million gun violence package

From left to right: Hinna Zeejah, 8, Taejah Goode, 10, Julia Stokes, 11, and Grant Fritz, 8, who wrote letters to President Barack Obama about the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., watch as Obama signs executive orders outlining proposals to reduce gun violence, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, in the South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington.

From left to right: Hinna Zeejah, 8, Taejah Goode, 10, Julia Stokes, 11, and Grant Fritz, 8, who wrote letters to President Barack Obama about the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., watch as Obama signs executive orders outlining proposals to reduce gun violence, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, in the South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington.

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama proposed a new assault weapons ban and mandatory background checks for all gun buyers on Wednesday in a bid to channel national outrage over the Newtown school massacre into the biggest U.S. gun-control push in generations.

Obama fact box

Here are the main proposals, broken down into action that Obama wants Congress to take and moves that the White House can accomplish without congressional approval, through executive orders.

PROPOSALS REQUIRING APPROVAL BY CONGRESS

  • Require criminal background checks on prospective buyers in all gun sales. A White House summary of Obama's plan calls this "the single most important thing we can do to prevent gun violence and mass shootings." Federally licensed firearms dealers now are required to run background checks on gun buyers, but studies estimate that nearly 40 percent of all sales are made by private sellers who are exempt from the requirement.
  • Renew and strengthen the federal ban on sales of military-style assault weapons that was in effect 1994-2004. A 2010 survey by the Police Executive Research Forum found that more than one-third of police departments reported an increase in criminals' use of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines since the prohibition ended. Bringing back the ban would be difficult because of opposition from Republicans and some Democrats in Congress.
  • Reinstate a ban on magazines holding more than 10 rounds. Like expanded background checks, this is likely to have more support in Congress than an assault weapons ban.
  • Ban the possession of armor-piercing ammunition and its transfer to anyone other than the military and law enforcement.
  • Increase punishments for gun trafficking, particularly by unlicensed dealers or "straw buyers" who purchase arms for criminals.
  • Provide $30 million in one-time grants to states to help school districts develop and implement emergency management plans.
  • Approve the White House's $4 billion proposal to help keep 15,000 police officers on the streets.
  • Confirm a director for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The ATF has not had a director for six years. The National Rifle Association, the nation's largest gun-rights group, has pushed to weaken the ATF's authority to enforce gun laws and prevent the agency from having strong leadership.
  • Give $150 million to school districts and law enforcement agencies to hire school resource officers, school psychologists, social workers, and counselors. This would put up to 1,000 new school resource officers - specially trained police officers who work in schools - and school counselors on the job.
  • Reach 750,000 young people through programs to identify mental illness early and refer them to treatment. A new initiative, Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education) would provide training for teachers and other adults who regularly interact with students to recognize young people who need help and ensure they are referred to mental health services.

ACTION TO BE TAKEN BY OBAMA

  • Make it easier for states to make information - notably about those with mental health issues - available to the background check system.
  • Direct the Centers for Disease Control and scientific agencies to conduct research into the causes and prevention of gun violence.
  • Direct U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.
  • Launch a national responsible gun ownership campaign.
  • Require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
  • Nominate a director for the ATF.
  • Ensure that every school has a comprehensive emergency management plan. A 2010 survey found that although 84 percent of public schools had a written response plan in the event of a shooting, only 52 percent had drilled their students on the plan during the previous year.
  • Finalize requirements for private health insurance plans to cover mental health services under the healthcare overhaul of 2010.

Rolling out a wide-ranging plan for executive and legislative action to curb gun violence, Obama set up a fierce clash with the powerful U.S. gun lobby and its supporters in Congress, who are expected to resist what they see as an encroachment on constitutionally protected gun rights.

Obama presented his agenda at a White House event in front of an audience that included children from around the country, a poignant reminder of the 20 first-graders who were killed along with six adults by a lone gunman on Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

"While reducing gun violence is a complicated challenge, protecting our children from harm shouldn't be a divisive one," Obama said.

Until now, Obama had done little to rein in America's weapons culture during his first four years in office. But just days before his second inauguration, he appears determined to champion gun control in his next term with a concerted drive for tighter laws and other steps aimed at preventing further tragedies like the one at Newtown.

The proposals stem from a month-long review led by Vice President Joe Biden, who on orders from Obama met with advocates on both sides, including representatives from the weapons and entertainment industries.

Obama's plan calls on Congress for a renewed prohibition on assault weapons sales that expired in 2004, a requirement for criminal background checks on all gun purchases, including closing a loophole for gun show sales, and a new federal gun trafficking law - long sought by big-city mayors to keep out-of-state guns off their streets.

He also announced 23 steps he intends to take immediately without congressional approval. These include improvements in the existing system for background checks, lifting the ban on federal research into gun violence, putting more counselors and "resource officers" in schools and improved access to mental health services.

The most politically contentious piece of the package is Obama's call for a renewed ban on military-style assault weapons, a move that Republicans who control the House of Representatives are expected to oppose.

The Newtown gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, used a Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifle to shoot his victims, many of them 6- and 7-year-olds, before killing himself.

Underscoring the tough political fight ahead, the National Rifle Association, launching a scathing advertising campaign against Obama's gun control effort and deployed its representatives in force on Capitol Hill.

The NRA, which says it has about 4 million members, took aim at Obama in a stinging TV and Internet spot, accusing him of being "just another elitist hypocrite" for accepting Secret Service protection for his two daughters but turning down the lobby group's proposal to put armed guards in all schools.

Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson, the first elected official to comment on the president's speech Wednesday, said that he believe the president's efforts will not meet Congressional scrutiny and would do little to curb gun violence.

"I do not believe that bans on assault weapons or cartridges are the answer to ending mass acts of violence, nor will such measures pass Congress," Isakson said via a message on his Facebook account Wednesday afternoon. "As history shows us, the 10-year ban on assault weapons that was in effect from 1994 to 2004 failed to prevent the mass shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. The common threads running through these shootings are mental health issues. I believe that more effective and sensible solutions are those that focus on background checks and mental health care, rather than restrictions on our Second Amendment right to bear arms. I look forward to working for commonsense solutions that keep our children safe without infringing upon our Constitutional rights."

Obama's plan appears to tread cautiously on the question of whether violent movies and video games contribute to the gun violence, which would open up issues of freedom of expression.

A senior administration official said, however, that Obama would be asking for $10 million for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study the root causes of gun violence, including any relationship to video games and media images.

Comments

LibertyandJustice 1 year, 6 months ago

Most of the 23 executive acts are concerned with either background checks and or mental health/healthcare issues.

  1. So when someone runs a background check on you, your medical/mental health is no longer private?
  2. If you have ever had anti-depressants/sedatives/anxiety medicine etc. prescribed for death of a love one, postpartum depression, anxiety issues, anger management issues, menopause...then does this disqualify you from owning a gun? Just some real simple questions I need answered.

My guess is OF COURSE it does. Less guns in fewer hands means less people to defend our country and constitution from this DICTATOR.

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VSU 1 year, 6 months ago

Criminal background checks really doesn't mean a whole lot. People can and will buy guns from somebody else illegally. They can also break into someone's house or car and steal a gun.

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waltspecht 1 year, 6 months ago

It does not address the gun buy back programs failure to process the weapons correctly for their history. You can still sell them a weapon used in multiple homocides and they will destroy it for you no questions asked. Plus if it is stolen they will destroy it with no effort to assertain legal ownership, and illegal possession of a stolen item. It doesn't address the enforcement of the law already on the books making it a Federal crime for a firearm to be in posession of a Drug suspect and the mandatory five year sentence that should go along with it. It doesn't deal with all the Felon in possession cases that are pled away. Basically it doesn't address the actual perpetrator utilizing the laws currently in place, but to widen the scope of Honest Citizen harassment. Sorry, but he failed to make it more dangerous for those that shoudn't have guns to have them.

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Jimboob 1 year, 6 months ago

SOMETHING has to be done or these mass killings will continue. Is there an ideal answer? I don't know but at least the president is trying. I wouldn't expect many here to welcome anything the president does but, as I said, at least he is trying.

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Jimboob 1 year, 6 months ago

"but turning down the lobby group's proposal to put armed guards in all schools." Does this mean the NRA was going to pay for training, equiping and paying the wages for guards in ALL the schools in the country? My isn't that generous...

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bigbob 1 year, 6 months ago

jimbob you do realize all these mass killings are done in gun free zones right. I would bet if you go to any school around here you could find alot of teachers who could carry a concealed weapon with complete safety. Do you also realize the libtard media is not telling the whole story right, like the fact the assault weapon at Sandy Hook was in the trunk of the car & all the kids were shot with pistols. Do you think maybe if the teacher who hid all her kids before she was killed wad a gun it would have saved alot of lifes, I do. The bottom line is criminals, the ones who kill people could give to sh-ts about any gun law.

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Jimboob 1 year, 6 months ago

Not true... ".--Dr. H. Wayne Carver, the medical examiner investigating Friday's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, said autopsies completed on 20 children and six adults on Saturday showed they were killed with multiple bullets fired by a rifle at close range." You must quit getting your News" from talk radio.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 6 months ago

Criminals, thugs, and mafioso are throwing parties because their profits are going to skyrocket. Sales of guns of all types expecially with high firepower and high bullet counts out of the trunks of cars will go through the roof.

A Prophetic Utterance from me.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 6 months ago

About 90% of this half a Billion dollars is just more money to grease the wheels of an already hopelessly bloated federal government. STOP THE MADNESS!!

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VSU 1 year, 6 months ago

Why not use this money for more better use like paying down the national debt?

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Cartman 1 year, 6 months ago

Regardless of your side on this issue, you might agree that this list of EOs improves nothing. Obama is trying to save face with his constituency and claim that he did "something".

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bigbob 1 year, 6 months ago

Hitler used kids alot to for props during his speechs, come on people wake up this guy is a muslum extemist if they ever was one.

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waltspecht 1 year, 6 months ago

Something can be done with the existing laws. Straw purchases are illegal, less than 5% have been investigated let alone prosecuted. When an application is rejected from a Backround check, there is no follow-uo for the obviously fradulant filling out of a Federal Firearms form. Now even if it is a clerical error, the crime needs to be investigated and the correct people charged and prosecuted. Purchasing handguns across State lines is already a violation of Federal Law. One of Chicago and New Yorks big claims to illegal gun sourcing, Yet very few individuals have ever been charged. The laws are there, just the Government hasn't even wanted to enforce them. One of the questions on the Federal form deals with mental health, but because of privacy laws this is never verified. Had a good reporting system been in place, with instant updates, neither the Virginia Tech Shooter, nor the one in Colorado would have been able purchase the weapons they purchased. Why not deal with those issues?

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Jimboob 1 year, 6 months ago

"■Confirm a director for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The ATF has not had a director for six years. The National Rifle Association, the nation's largest gun-rights group, has pushed to weaken the ATF's authority to enforce gun laws and prevent the agency from having strong leadership." Now you know why there is very little enforcement of current laws.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 6 months ago

NOTHING on the continually escalating VIOLENCE in Hollywood.....NOTHING on the continually escalating first-person shooter VIOLENCE in Video Games......Obama would not want to bit the hand that feeds Him with millions and millions in Democrat campaign contributions and personal endorsements.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 6 months ago

POTUS: Pissing Off The United States

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 6 months ago

Great minds of history think alike!!

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Jimboob 1 year, 6 months ago

When will you care about gun control? When it's your kids? Your grandkids? When it's too late? Assault type weapons and large cap mags have no business in a law abiding citizens home. The banning of them will not effect 99.9% of the American public. The Banning will not significantly reduce the homicide rate. They may help control the body count in mass shootings. Wouldn’t that be enough of a reason to pass them?

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VSU 1 year, 6 months ago

If your kid or grandkid got killed, would it make a difference how he/she was killed? If he/she got stabbed to death by a knife, does that make the child any more alive? Whether it's one child or 20 children, your child is dead. if your child was the only one killed, does that make your pain go away? Sure you can be thankful about the other kids safety, but what about your child?

What about that sicko that murdered his young daughter and dismembered her? Would gun control prevented that? One life is one too many.

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Sherwood_Eagle_Alum 1 year, 6 months ago

Jimboob specifically said that banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines would not stop all killing, but it would help prevent mass shootings.

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VSU 1 year, 6 months ago

And I specifically asked jimboob if it would make any difference how the person or child was killed, and that one death was one death too many. My comment had nothing to do with whether banning assault weapons would work or not. If one person was killed, someone lost a loved one, regardless how they were killed.

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bubbavet 1 year, 6 months ago

You are a "Special Kind of Stupid". SCA Alum also.

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VSU 1 year, 6 months ago

So I am stupid because I don't want one person killed? Would it make you feel better if I said I hope 20 more children get killed? You're a special kind of moronic jackass!

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VSU 1 year, 6 months ago

And I laugh at you calling Sherwood stupid also, I may not always agree with him, but I don't think I ever called him stupid and never would.

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Sally_O 1 year, 6 months ago

Ain't it one big happy world?

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Sherwood_Eagle_Alum 1 year, 6 months ago

Bubbavet, if you want to dance, all you have to do is get on the dance floor. Care to comment on the content, or would you prefer play in the mud and name-call?

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bigbob 1 year, 6 months ago

You are not dumb enough to believe criminals will stop useing assault weapons if there is a law against them, if it was that easy you could just make murder a crime, oh wait. The thing libtards seem to have trouble understanding is that criminals don't obey laws.

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VSU 1 year, 6 months ago

Obuma said just think of the people that would still be alive today if it wasn't for guns. On the other hand, just think of the people that would still be alive today if they weren't murdered or killed by knives, hammers, poison, strangulation, drowning, arson, baseball bats, drugs, automobile accidents, bricks, lead pipes, suffocation, carbon monoxide, airplane crashes, abortion.....the list goes on. The guns are going to be out there regardless what people say or think. If they can't buy them legally, they will just buy them illegally. Drugs are illegal unless prescribed by a doctor but you don't see illegal drugs going away do you? What makes one think it will be any different with guns? Just another law to be broken.

1 person dead by murder is 1 too many regardless if they are killed by a gun or any other method. That person no longer has a voice on the matter.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 6 months ago

The entertainment industry outspends the National Rifle Associate in Washington Lobbying dollars by 20 to 1. I guess that's why they skated through His Royal Highness's list of Royal Edicts unscathed.

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trudy2 1 year, 6 months ago

Gun laws are as meaningless as the average post here. With cash in hand any person can buy any type of weapon they desire.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 6 months ago

Your post is the truth. Thanks.

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