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Obama Unveils Gun Control Proposals

The recommendations are a result from Vice President Biden's commission that investigated U.S. gun laws in the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.

In an address to the public Wednesday afternoon, President Barack Obama announced that he will sign 23 executive actions that provide law enforcement, schools, mental health professionals and the public health community more tools to combat gun violence.

The actions include launching a responsible gun ownership campaign, having the Consumer Product Safety Commission review standards for gun safes and locks, nominating a director for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and directing the Center for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.

Obama also want to improve incentives and look at removing any unnecessary legal barriers that may prevent states from sharing information with the federal background check system, a move that could help legislation similar to State Representantive Todd Stephen's bill that would add Pennsylvania's mental health records to the national database.

The President's announcement comes from recommendations presented by Vice President Joe Biden after he and other Cabinet members conducted meetings with representatives from the gun, video game and health care industry as well as religious leaders and advocacy groups.

As Obama uses the power of the Executive Office to address gun safety, he has also called on Congress to enact stricter laws and statutes in the months to come.

"To make a real and lasting difference," Obama said in a prepared statement, "Congress, too, must act - and Congress must act soon.  And I’m calling on Congress to pass some very specific proposals right away." 

The President has proposed the following:

  • Require a universal background check for anyone trying to buy a gun;
  • Ban military-style assault weapons and a 10-round limit on magazines;
  • Harsher punishments for illegal gun sales and trafficking;
  • Act on the administration's $4 billion proposal to keep 15,000 police officers employed;
  • Confirming the nomination of Todd Jones as ATF director.

"I intend to use whatever weight this office holds to make them a reality," Obama said in a statement released by the White House. "Because while there is no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence completely, if there is even one thing we can do to reduce this violence – if even one life can be saved – we have an obligation to try."

The actions take place 33 days after 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., were killed in a shooting that shook the nation. The tragedy brought shined a bright spotlight on the gun debate, as gun control supporters demanded stricter legislation while many gun owners resented what they saw as a politicization of the massacre. 

Response was swift after Obama presented his proposals. The National Rifle Association released a short but direct statement to the media.

"Attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation," the organization said in the statement. "Only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy."

Local officials also weighed in on the stronger push for new gun control measures. Representative Allyson Schwartz (PA-13) applauded the administration's announcement, calling it a "comprehensive plan to keep guns out of the wrong hands."

On the other side of the aisle, Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8) stressed the need for a bipartisan approach to the issue that includes input from all branches of the government. He recognized the need for the proposed measures and the need for stronger enforcement for current laws.

"Our focus should be on measures which have the widest positive effect that have the support of both Republicans and Democrats in Congress," siad Fitzpatrick in a statement released by his office. "My sense is those include background checks and mental health records reporting with the goal of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of dangerous people."

Mike Shortall Sr January 17, 2013 at 10:16 PM
Instead of trying to divine what the Founding Fathers intended when they decided to write such a poorly worded Constitutional Amendment, maybe we should look to what they actually did when they were serving as Chief Executives. Once the War of 1812 was fought and - in theory at least - there was no longer the need for "militias", none of the FFs who helped write The Constitution or the Bill of Rights, not James Madison or John Adams, not even Thomas Jefferson demanded that U.S. citizens give up their guns. Some of their own words: "Americans have the right and advantage of being armed - unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." (James Madison, The Federalist Papers #46 at 243-244) "No Free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." (Thomas Jefferson,1 T. Jefferson Papers, 334,[C.J.Boyd, Ed., 1950]) Or what the FFs might have written had they not been concerned so much with efficacy: "The right of the people to keep and bear...arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country..." (James Madison, I Annals of Congress 434 [June 8, 1789]) In the end, none of the FFs seemed to think disarming the AMerican population was a good idea.
Mike Shortall Sr January 17, 2013 at 10:21 PM
Anyone who thinks their children will be safer just because new gun laws are passed are not paying attention to what's going on around them. When the Government itself is handing out weapons to the most dangerous criminals (Fast & Furious), how can you expect anything they might propose will keep a law-biding citizen "safer"?!?
Nicole January 21, 2013 at 03:30 AM
William, I meant why can't Johnny read. Part of Obama's gun control initiative will have teachers, in addition to all their other teaching/social work duties, screening for psychological problems. Where are the parents?
SAFSDF February 20, 2013 at 01:31 AM
Thank you very much for your kindness and efforts to helping us in many ways. More powers to you. http://www.lifehealthly.com health articles
Rush Limbo February 23, 2013 at 02:50 PM
Why hasn't anyone reported on how many senseless deaths Obama Care will inflict on the american people?

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