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President unveils $500 million gun violence package

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

WASHINGTON -- Conceding "this will be difficult," President Barack Obama urged a reluctant Congress on Wednesday to require background checks for all gun sales and ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines during an emotion-laden plea to curb gun violence in America.

The president's sweeping, $500 million plan, coming one month after the school massacre in Newtown, Conn., marks the most comprehensive effort to tighten gun laws in nearly two decades. But his proposals, most of which are opposed by the National Rifle Association, face a doubtful future in a divided Congress where Republicans control the House.

Seeking to circumvent at least some opposition, Obama signed 23 executive actions Wednesday, including orders to make more federal data available for background checks and end a freeze on government research on gun violence. But he acknowledged the steps would have less impact than the broad measures requiring approval from Capitol Hill.

(Photo)
President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, law enforcement officials, lawmakers and children who wrote the president about gun violence following last month's shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., pauses as he spoke about proposals to reduce gun violence, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, in the South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington.
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
"To make a real and lasting difference, Congress, too, must act," Obama said, speaking at a White House ceremony with school children and their parents. "And Congress must act soon."

The president's announcements capped a swift and wide-ranging effort, led by Vice President Joe Biden, to respond to the deaths of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School. But Obama's gun-control proposals set him up for a tough political fight with Congress as he begins his second term, when he'll need Republican support to meet three looming fiscal deadlines and pass comprehensive immigration reform.

"I will put everything I've got into this, and so will Joe," the president said. "But I tell you, the only way we can change is if the American people demand it."

Key congressional leaders were tepid in their response.

Republican House Speaker John Boehner's office signaled no urgency to act, with spokesman Michael Steel saying only that "House committees of jurisdiction will review these recommendations. And if the Senate passes a bill, we will also take a look at that."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he was committed to ensuring that the Senate will consider gun violence legislation "early this year," but he did not endorse any specific proposal.

Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt said Wednesday that Obama's proposals "fundamentally fail" to address ways of preventing tragic events like the shooting the killed 26 people at a Connecticut school. He said the focus should be on treatment for the mentally ill.

Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill supports services for the mentally ill, as well as Obama's proposals to expand background checks to all gun purchases and limit the size of ammunition magazines that can be sold. She said such steps can be taken while protecting Second Amendment rights.

But Blunt said Obama's proposals are an attempt to restrict those rights.

The president vowed to use "whatever weight this office holds" to fight for his recommendations. He's likely to travel around the country in the coming weeks to rally public support and could engage his still-active presidential campaign operation in the effort. But he'll have to overcome a well-financed counter-effort by the NRA.

"There will be pundits and politicians and special interest lobbyists publicly warning of a tyrannical, all-out assault on liberty -- not because that's true, but because they want to gin up fear or higher ratings or revenue for themselves," Obama said.

The president, speaking to an audience that included families of some of those killed in Newtown, said 900 Americans have lost their lives to gun violence in the four weeks since the school shootings.

"We can't put this off any longer," he declared. "Every day we wait, the number will keep growing."

Many Democrats say an assault-weapons ban faces the toughest road in Congress. Obama wants lawmakers to reinstate the expired 1994 ban on the high-grade weapons, and strengthen the measure to prevent manufacturers from circumventing the prohibition by making cosmetic changes to banned guns.

The president also is likely to face opposition to his call for Congress to limit ammunition magazines to 10 rounds.

Democrats are hopeful they can build consensus around the president's call for universal background checks. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said 40 percent of gun sales are conducted with no criminal background checks, such as in some instances at gun shows or by private sellers over the Internet or through classified ads.

The NRA is opposed to all three measures. In a statement Wednesday, the gun lobby said, "Only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected" by Obama's efforts and the nation's children "will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy."

On the eve of Obama's announcement, the NRA released an online video accusing him of being an "elitist hypocrite" for sending his daughters to school with armed Secret Service agents while opposing having guards with guns at all U.S. schools.

White House spokesman Jay Carney called the video "repugnant and cowardly."

The president's proposals included a $150 million request to Congress that would allow schools to hire 1,000 new police officers, counselors and psychologists. The White House plan includes legislative and executive action to increase mental health services, including boosting funding for training aimed at getting young people into treatment more quickly.

Eighty-four percent of Americans back broader background checks, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll. Nearly six in 10 Americans want stricter gun laws, the same poll showed, with majorities favoring a nationwide ban on military-style weapons and limits on gun violence depicted in video games, movies and TV shows.

The NRA and pro-gun lawmakers have long suggested that violent images in video games and entertainment are more to blame for mass shootings than the availability of guns. But Obama's proposals do little to address that concern, other than calling on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research links between violent images and gun attacks.

Government scientists have been prohibited from researching the causes and prevention of gun violence since 1996, when a budget amendment was passed that barred researchers from spending taxpayer money on such studies.

The administration is asking Congress to provide $10 million for expanded research.

Obama also wants lawmakers to ban armor-piercing ammunition, except for use by the military and law enforcement. And he's asking them to create stiffer penalties for gun trafficking, to provide $14 million to help train police officers and others to respond to shootings, and to approve his nominee to run the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

One of the president's executive actions was to nominate B. Todd Jones to head the ATF, which has been without a permanent director since 2006. Jones has served as the bureau's acting director since 2011.

Other steps Obama took through his presidential powers include:

* Ordering tougher penalties for people who lie on background checks.

* Requiring federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.

* Ordering a review of safety standards for gun locks and gun safes.


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Tougher penalties for people who lie on background checks, ending limits that make it more difficult for the government to RESEARCH gun violence, and last but not least, giving communities GRANTS to institute programs to keep guns away from people WHO SHOULDN'T HAVE THEM!!

Sure, institute that program in Chicago, and I am certain that those responsible for pulling the trigger on more than five hundred (500+) victims in that city last year will very willingly surrender their guns. This is simply brilliant legislation! Now we can all feel safer!

-- Posted by arrestthem on Wed, Jan 16, 2013, at 12:22 PM

It is a good start, what would you suggest?

-- Posted by bball15 on Wed, Jan 16, 2013, at 12:56 PM

I would suggest to start enforcing the current laws already on the books, prosecute the criminals, stop trouncing the Constitution and leave the law abiding citizens alone and allow them to protect themselves. That's just a starter for what I would suggest.

-- Posted by arrestthem on Wed, Jan 16, 2013, at 1:05 PM

I suggest we get rid of gun shows!

Arrestthem, just what do you think the 2nd ammendment means? No one wants to take the blessed guns away from law abiding citizens. But nobody wants crazy people to have them either.

-- Posted by Reasoning on Wed, Jan 16, 2013, at 1:12 PM

Reasoning, WTH does gun shows have to do with that?

How many of these mass murderers bought their firearms at gun shows?

-- Posted by Right Minded on Wed, Jan 16, 2013, at 1:26 PM

Gun shows don't do background checks in the parking lots, Right Minded. Anyone can buy a weapon at a gun show.

-- Posted by Reasoning on Wed, Jan 16, 2013, at 3:12 PM

The disturbed individual who killed in Sandy Hook was turned down for an attempted gun purchase. So he simply got into his Mother's stash of guns. Personally I have no problem taking a look at limiting assault weapons but the main question is, how can we keep guns away from criminals and the mentally ill? Making certain drugs illegal created a huge industry for the criminal element and they pay no taxes -- it's kind of hard to claim that kind of income. Criminals don't follow laws they break them -- only the law abiding citizens will go through the required hoops.

-- Posted by amazedinMO on Wed, Jan 16, 2013, at 3:19 PM

I like the photo op of our president surrounded by children. He must really care about us.

-- Posted by sasiemers on Wed, Jan 16, 2013, at 3:48 PM

Reasoning, 90% of the sellers at gun shows are FFL licensed dealers and are required to complete an instant background check on a buyer. Sure there are a few individuals selling privately owned firearms but they are the minority. Them selling their own private firearms to another individual is no different than running an ad in the local newspaper's classified or Craigslist. Gun shows have almost no connection to firearms related crimes. This so called solution is just another left winged feel good attempt to make it more difficult on honest folks.

-- Posted by Right Minded on Wed, Jan 16, 2013, at 5:07 PM

Reasoning,

I do believe the 2nd Amendment protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms. At least that's the way I read it.

Are you certain that no one wants to take the blessed guns away from law abiding citizens? That man in Washington could use another one of "those Executive Orders" in order to get his way, and the way of his following.

You want to get rid of gun shows? You think the criminals buy their guns at gun shows? When they get rid of gun shows, perhaps they should also get rid tobacco which is responsible for over 529,000 deaths, and alcohol which is good for another 107,000, or vehicles which are good for over 34,000, and non-firearm homicides out number firearm hocicides by 16,000 to 11,000.

Guns are not the big problem, it's the crazy nuts that get their hands on them! Criminals will always have the ability to obtain guns, always have and always will, and for that reason I will always have one of mine at the ready, no matter what some arrogant politician might say!

-- Posted by arrestthem on Wed, Jan 16, 2013, at 7:05 PM

There are already laws on the books that bar mentally ill people from possessing firearms.

One of the Obama appointees , US Attorney Callahan in St. Louis has stated that anyone that is in federal court should not receive a sentence of 15 years. If you make it to being charged in federal court for a firearm, you have EARNED your way into that court. It is not normally for a first time offender. If you are getting a 15 year sentence in federal court for a gun, then you are a several time convicted felon.

The same US Attorney will not allow the assistant attorneys to prosecute a felon in possession of a firearm unless the felony conviction is a certain type of felony, and I am not talking about a dwi felony or a driving while intoxicating felony.

Prosecute the laws on the books before you start passing more guns laws that will not be prosecuted.

If the mentally ill person in sandy hook had used a knife to kill those kids, would we be looking to ban knifes because some nut killed someone with a knife??

-- Posted by cartman89 on Wed, Jan 16, 2013, at 10:25 PM

If the sandy hook killer had a knife, would 26 people be dead?

-- Posted by Reasoning on Thu, Jan 17, 2013, at 5:46 AM

Guns are good enough to protect the president, and his kids, and everything deemed to be important. Why are they not good enough to protect my kids and me for that matter? Enforce the laws we have, put armed guards in schools.

-- Posted by truthdetector on Thu, Jan 17, 2013, at 5:53 AM

If the sandy hook killer had a knife, would 26 people be dead?

-- Posted by Reasoning on Thu, Jan 17, 2013, at 5:46 AM

Reasoning, I ask again, WTH do gun shows have to do with this?

Typical leftist tactics. When you cant back up your argument, just change the subject.

How do you know the Sandy Hook killer wouldn't have killed 26 with a knife, by running a car through the play ground at recess or a multitude of other methods to carry out his cowardly actions.

I know you will never change your misled opinion as long as you get your talking points from NPR and other left winged sources.

-- Posted by Right Minded on Thu, Jan 17, 2013, at 6:58 AM

Cartman89 is on the money. Federal prosecutions under this U.S. Attorney are down 40% and most of those are gun prosecutions. Enforce the laws on the books first before passing more laws.

-- Posted by bbqman on Thu, Jan 17, 2013, at 7:25 AM

I get my opinions from my mind and I hope Devine inspiration. I don't even know what NPR stands for, but I will bing it after I finish posting.

I do not "know", what the Sandy Hook Killer would have done had he not had a gun. I do KNOW what he did with a gun!

Tell me, "Right" why would anyone NEED a high power assault rifle? Think about it before you answer.

We NEED stricter gun control and enforcement of this control. We NEED gun owners to be responsible citizens and not mentally unstable or deficient souls.

-- Posted by Reasoning on Thu, Jan 17, 2013, at 7:39 AM

Reasoning, do you mean stricter gun control such as in Chicago, New York and Washington DC? Hmmmmmm it working so well in those places!!!!

Why do we need "High Power Assault Rifles?"

First of all, true assault weapons are already banned!!! It is illegal to own fully automatic firearms!

The trouble at hand is the way they are trying to define what is an assault weapon. They can rewrite the definition to mean anything they want.

As far as who needs one? Why don't you ask the business owners during the L.A. Riots? The only business' not looted and burned in East L.A. were the ones defended by their owners with.......yes it's true...... Assault rifles!!!!

Tell them that their assault rifles have no useful purpose.

The second amendment was written to provide that honest citizens have the RIGHT to protect themselves and their property from an oppressive government such as the one ours is becoming!!!!

Again, what do gun shows have to do with this? Still waiting?

By the way, NPR= National Public Radio.

-- Posted by Right Minded on Thu, Jan 17, 2013, at 8:00 AM

One other thought Reasoning, were you aware that there was already an assault weapons ban in the state of Connecticut at he time of th Sandy Hook shootings?

Were you aware that there was a nation wide assault weapons ban during the Columbine shootings?

You will never accept the fact that the guns are not at fault here. It's deranged people causing these tragedies.

However they are protected by the likes of left winged misguided people like you and the ACLU who are more worried about the psychopaths civil rights than the true safety of society!!!

-- Posted by Right Minded on Thu, Jan 17, 2013, at 8:13 AM

-- Posted by Reasoning on Thu, Jan 17, 2013, at 7:39 AM

If I remember correctly the Columbine killers actually had propane tanks hidden in a couple of closets to explode and kill more. I believe there were 2 propane tanks in the cafeteria that they weren't able to ignite. There were also school guards on campus. They locked the doors behind them when the guards went outside - right before they began their sick act.

Just listen to the posts above. What do you suggest? School guards did NOT work in Columbine. Gun bans did NOT work in Columbine. Should we ban propane tanks?

The American culture is to blame. Guns are not the problem. Many today want their 5 minutes of fame - even if that comes in their own death.

We screened games and movies for our kids as they were growing up. Don't need a federal law. My kids are also very very familiar with guns - hunting and otherwise. There is a lack of shame and personal responsibility in society today. How do you legislate that?

Guns are not the problem.

-- Posted by Dug on Thu, Jan 17, 2013, at 9:03 AM

I just went to a gun show. I didn't buy any guns but watched MANY people do so and they filled out the EXACT same form I filled out a month ago at a local gun dealer when I did buy one. ALL new guns require a background check no matter where you get them. ALL criminals will NEVER get a background check to get a gun so more restrictions are only restrictions on law abiding citizens. Until you get rid of EVERY single gun on the face of the earth CRIMINALS will get a gun to do the work of their evil deed. When they can't get a legal one they will get a stolen one. When they can't get a manufactured one they can make one. When they can't do that they can use explosives, guns baseball bats, gasoline, automobiles (as a ram), swords, dart guns, crossbows, spears and a million other lethal tools to do their evil deeds. Please everyone WAKE UP and stop hating guns based on your ignorance of the world and stop listening to the media on this. Use the brain on top of your head and think through what I just said and if you want to educate yourself on guns - DO SO! Then I believe logically you will conclude the only thing to stop a bad guy is a good guy. The good guy needs at least the same tools (or better) as a bad guy has to take down the bad guy and keep him from doing less damage. You can't count on the police always because there is probably like tens of thousand individually to one police officer (Maybe more ???) and any ONE individual out there can be the bad guy. I don't give a hoot wether you personally like guns or not and honest I'm glad you don't have any if you don't feel comfortable around them because that is how accidents happen but don't have a car if you don't feel comfortable driving it either please if you catch my drift. Let's not make the mistake of 'I hate this so everyone should hate this' because you are not doing right for those children that died and the future children that will die by thinking and acting this way. Want to help these children? really ?? Listen more to the NRA - someone who definitively knows and feels comfortable around guns AND gun safety. So far the politicians have not only ignored everything they have said but they might of well have been a empty chair in Washington. Given that fact does it sound like Washington has the children's best interest at heart? Let's put an armed guard at every school. They can help. Let's let certain teachers and principals train and carry concealed. It's OK to ask them to regularly train and certify but if they choose too and do so then they can help. Let's dig into the hospitals and RX companies and see what they are subscribing to the nuts doing the shootings. PSSS Every one of them was on one subscription or three. In my opinion THAT is your smoking gun (pun intended). I can write a book on this but all I ask you to do is shut off your radio and tv sets and sit and think for yourself and come to a conclusion using logic. Ask yourself the questions I have posed. What do YOU think? BTW you should do this on every issue in life when it comes to human rights and our way of life. Go in proactively and not just reactive to what the news (AKA Government Advertising) tells you. Think for yourselves PLEASE for the sake of us all Thanks for reading....

-- Posted by goodpasture on Thu, Jan 17, 2013, at 9:44 AM

Human beings are the only animals that can harm at a distance. Human beings are the only animals whose greatest possibility of harm comes from members of their own species. Even the most dangerous animals need not fear their kind. Lions don't fear lions; sharks don't fear sharks! In short, guns do not kill humans, humans kill humans. Frankly speaking, I am sick of Our President and law makers circumventing our Constitution to please the few. They all took an oath to protect and defend it, not to destroy it. Those who do should be impeached.

-- Posted by GREYWOLF on Thu, Jan 17, 2013, at 10:26 AM

I just went to a gun show. I didn't buy any guns but watched MANY people do so and they filled out the EXACT same form I filled out a month ago at a local gun dealer when I did buy one. ALL new guns require a background check no matter where you get them.

Posted by goodpasture on Thu, Jan 17, 2013, at 9:44 AM

So, you did not observe any of the backroom deals between individuals? I was at the last Arena building gun show and at least 3 people who had tables set up told me that there were no background checks necessary if I bought from them. I also observed several gun deals between individuals with no check involved.

I like my firearms, but things like this have to stop. Any nut can buy a firearm from a individual and not be flagged in any way.

-- Posted by 3forone on Thu, Jan 17, 2013, at 11:39 AM

Right minded, I ANSWERED your question yesterday around 3. Check it out!

Guns were created to KILL. Once shot, it cannot be reversed. Dead is Dead and maimed is maimed.

Yes, Greywolf, People kill people. But the Sandy Hook killer would not have killed as many CHILDREN with a knife, with a sword, etc.

Yes, he was crazy. He should never have had access to a weapon like this.

-- Posted by Reasoning on Thu, Jan 17, 2013, at 12:12 PM

Guns don't kill people. Abortion kills people!!!

-- Posted by Right Minded on Thu, Jan 17, 2013, at 12:29 PM

Yes, Greywolf, People kill people. But the Sandy Hook killer would not have killed as many CHILDREN with a knife, with a sword, etc.

You don't know that!!! You admitted yourself!!!

Anytime you disarm honest people, you just make easier targets for psychopaths.

I submit if Sandy Hook had not been in a Gun Free School Zone and school personnel were allowed to be armed if they chose, this and other tragedies may have never have happened.

-- Posted by Right Minded on Thu, Jan 17, 2013, at 12:34 PM

By the way Reasoning, you did not answer my question, which was, " WTH does gun shows have to do with Sandy Hook?"

Can you show where ANY of these acts of murder were committed with firearms purchased from a gun show?

-- Posted by Right Minded on Thu, Jan 17, 2013, at 12:51 PM

Yes I did. Gun Shows (and you are very defensive, a dealer?) bring people wanting guns together at the location. Then they can trade in the parking lot and skip the 'checks' put in place.

I truly don't mind people who are hunters (and actually eat the meat), or people who shoot as a sport owning their "gun". I even understand a collector (though I think the choice of collection is odd) wanting to purchase guns.Those who are concerned for their safety, who purchase the gun legally and learn the rules and procedures I can abide. But we have law enforcement for a reason, why not let them take care of it?

I wonder Mr. Right Minded, how many "guns" do you own?

-- Posted by Reasoning on Thu, Jan 17, 2013, at 1:52 PM

I truly don't mind people who are hunters (and actually eat the meat), or people who shoot as a sport owning their "gun". I even understand a collector (though I think the choice of collection is odd) wanting to purchase guns.Those who are concerned for their safety, who purchase the gun legally and learn the rules and procedures I can abide. But we have law enforcement for a reason, why not let them take care of it?

I wonder Mr. Right Minded, how many "guns" do you own?

-- Posted by Reasoning on Thu, Jan 17, 2013, at 1:52 PM

Read the Second Amendment you idiot!!! There is nothing in there about hunting or sports shooting.

The Second Amendment is in place to provide citizens with the ability to protect themselves and their property from a tyranical government like the one our forefathers fled.

Its is just as important as any other amendment to our constitution and more important than most for keeping us a free nation.

I am not a dealer. I do believe in my rights as provided in the Bill of Rights. You've probably never read those either. Just because you do not believe in the ownership of firearms to protect your self, you don not have the right to insist on everyone elses constitutional rights be taken away.

As far as letting law enforcement take care of you, it is not practical for the police to be everywhere all of the time.

Those fine public servants are stretched as thin as possible now!!!

As far as you wondering how many guns I own, its none of your or anyone else's **** business.

But I am sure being the good liberal pacifist that you are, you would be willing to advertise that you are unarmed. Then when your home is being broken into, you or your family is being attacked, raped and murdered, you could just tell the assailant to wait while you call law enforcement to come stop them.

Numerous courts have ruled that law enforcement cannot be held responsible for not being there exactly when you need them!!!

-- Posted by Right Minded on Thu, Jan 17, 2013, at 2:11 PM


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