At a White House event with children who wrote him letters after the Dec. 14 school shooting in Newtown, Conn., President Obama today said the nation cannot wait any longer to do what can be done to reduce gun violence.
He unveiled a series of executive actions and calls for legislation that is sure to spark sharp debate in Washington. The steps he’s taking, as expected, include calling on Congress to pass legislation banning “military-style assault weapons” and expanding background checks for gun buyers. He also announced 23 executive actions — such as “legal barriers in health laws that prevent some states from making information available about those prohibited from having guns” — that don’t require Congressional action.
And while Obama promised to “put everything I’ve got into this,” he also said that “pundits and politicians” will fight his proposals and claim he’s waging an “all-out assault on liberty.”
“The only way we can [get] change is if the American people demand it,” he said. Americans, added Obama, need to “stand up and say ‘enough.’ “
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Update at 12:25 p.m. ET. White House Statements:
Update at 12:16 p.m. ET. “Let’s Do The Right Thing”:
Speaking of those killed in recent mass shootings and those who try to protect Americans from such harm, the president ends his remarks by saying “let’s do the right thing … for them and for this country that we love so much.”
Then, he sits down to sign the 23 executive actions.
Update at 12:10 p.m. ET. American People Must Demand Change:
While he vows to “put everything I’ve got into this,” Obama also says that “pundits and politicians” will fight his proposals and claim he’s waging an “all-out assault on liberty.”
“The only way we can [get] change is if the American people demand it,” he says. Americans, adds Obama, need to “stand up and say ‘enough.’ “
Update at 12:07 p.m. ET. Universal Background Checks, Ban On Assault Weapons And 10-Round Limit On Magazines:
The president calls on Congress to pass legislation that resurrects the expired ban on sale of assault weapons, puts a 10-round limit on ammunition magazines and creates a system of “universal background checks” — closing the so-called gun show loophole. “You should at least have to show you are not a felon or somebody legally prohibited from buying” a gun, he says.
Update at 12:04 p.m. ET. The Executive Actions:
The president begins to talk of the 23 executive actions he’s taking today. They include support for schools that want to hire “resource officers” and develop emergency plans. And he’s telling the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study the causes of gun violence.
Update at 12:02 p.m. ET. “We Can’t Put This Off Any Longer”:
Saying that “every day we wait,” more Americans will be killed in gun-related incidents, the president says “we can’t put this off any longer.”
Update at 11:54 a.m. ET. “20 Beautiful First Graders”:
Biden begins with words about those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and he thanks the family members who have come to the White House today for the announcement.
Those killed at the school were “20 beautiful first graders gunned down in a place that’s supposed to be their second sanctuary,” Biden says, and six adults who were trying to protect them.
The nation, he adds, has a “moral obligation” to do what can be done to prevent another such attack.
Update at 11:51 a.m. ET: The White House Event Has Begun.