Obama’s big gun control announcement: He wants permanent assault weapons ban, background checks on all gun purchases
Earlier today, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden outlined their first proposed steps of gun control measures in the wake of last year’s string of deadly mass shootings. The main things Obama and Biden want on the table is a permanent assault weapons ban, a ban on high capacity magazines and mandatory background checks on anyone who buys a gun, whether it’s a store or a gun show or private dealer.
Referring to the young students killed in the Newtown shootings on December 14 and other victims of gun violence, Obama said the nation must do a better job of protecting its children, especially when they are in public places such as schools, shopping malls and movie theaters.
While some of the steps he proposed are given little chance of winning congressional approval in the face of the nation’s powerful gun lobby, Obama said all efforts must be made to reduce chronic gun violence in the country.
“This is our first task as a society — keeping our children safe,” the president said, adding that saving even one life would make the changes he seeks worth the effort. Already under fire by the National Rifle Association, which claims Obama seeks to violate the constitutional right for civilians to bear arms, the president said that wasn’t true. “We can respect the Second Amendment while keeping an irresponsible law-breaking few from inflicting harm on a massive scale,” he said.
Obama proposed legislative steps he previously has backed, such as reinstating the Clinton-era ban on assault weapons, and also requested that funds be made available to help treat mental illness and provide schools with support to enhance their safety.
Vice President Joe Biden led a panel assembled by Obama to examine gun control steps after the Newtown shootings, which sparked a fierce public debate over how to prevent such mass killings.
“The world has changed, and it’s demanding action,” Biden said at Wednesday’s White House event. Opponents led by the NRA promise a political fight, with an NRA spokesman saying Tuesday that the group has experienced what he called an “unprecedented” spike in membership numbers since new calls for gun control began in the past month.
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