Obama Launches Aggressive US Gun Control Agenda

Obama Launches Aggressive US Gun Control Agenda
# 17 January 2013 00:59 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. US President Barack Obama signed 23 new executive orders on Wednesday to reduce gun violence, and called on Congress to pass a sweeping new set of proposals including a ban on military-style assault weapons like the one used in the Newtown, Connecticut elementary school shooting in December, APA reports quoting en.rian.ru website.

“In the month since 20 precious children and six brave adults were violently taken from us at Sandy Hook Elementary, more than 900 of our fellow Americans have reportedly died at the end of a gun,” he said before a room crowded with parents who lost children in the Newtown massacre, victims of other shootings, children who sent letters to the White House urging action on gun violence, and other gun control supporters.

“While there is no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence completely, no piece of legislation that will prevent every tragedy, every act of evil, if there’s even one thing we can do to reduce this violence, if there’s even one life that can be saved, then we’ve got an obligation to try,” he added.

Obama asked Congress to pass his proposals “right away,” including:

· A ban on military-style assault weapons

· A 10-round limit on magazine ammunition clips

· A ban on armor-piercing ammunition

· Criminal and mental background checks for anyone trying to buy a gun, including private sales, purchases made over the Internet, and at gun shows

The nearly two dozen executive orders signed Wednesday are designed to strengthen the nation’s current, sporadic system of background checks, encourage reporting of violent threats, provide funds for schools to hire additional counselors and improve access to mental health treatment.

Obama also ordered the Centers for Disease Control to conduct research into the causes and prevention of gun violence, something gun lobbyists have actively fought in recent years.

“We don’t benefit from ignorance. We don’t benefit from not knowing the science of this epidemic of violence,” Obama said.

A recent poll of just over 1,000 American adults found 58 percent in favor of strengthening existing gun laws.

The poll was conducted by The Associated Press and the GfK research firm January 10-14, roughly a month after the Newton elementary school shooting, which prompted a renewed public outcry to end mass shootings in America.

But Obama’s proposal met quickly with staunch resistance from gun supporters who argue the right to bear arms is a constitutionally-protected freedom in the US.

In a letter circulated by the powerful US gun lobby, the National Rifle Association (NRA) at a Las Vegas gun trade show on Wednesday, Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said, “I warned you this day was coming and now it’s here. It’s not about protecting your children. It’s not about stopping crime. It’s about banning your guns … PERIOD!”

The fundraising letter, addressed to the NRA’s four million members, warned them about the president’s proposals and said, “Right now, they’re steamrolling ahead with legislation that would ban your guns, register your ammunition purchases and even force you to register the firearms you already own with Obama’s anti-gun bureaucrats.”

In a 35-second video released by the NRA on Tuesday, the group accuses Obama of being an ‘elitist hypocrite’ because he allows armed Secret Service protection for his own daughters.

“Are the president’s kids more important than yours? Then why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools when his kids are protected by armed guards at their school?”

The White House issued a sharply worded response to the NRA video. “Most Americans agree that a president’s children should not be used as pawns in a political fight, said Press Secretary Jay Carney in a statement. “But to go so far as to make the safety of the president’s children the subject of an attack ad is repugnant and cowardly.”

Toward the end of his speech, Obama sought to calm the fears of gun owners concerned about their Second Amendment rights, which protects the right to keep and bear arms.

“There are millions of responsible, law-abiding gun owners in America who cherish their right to bear arms for hunting or sport or protection or collection,” he said.

“I also believe most gun owners agree that we can respect the Second Amendment while keeping an irresponsible, law-breaking few from inflicting harm on a massive scale. I believe most of them agree that if America worked harder to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, there would be fewer atrocities like the one that occurred in Newtown,” he added.