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January 17, 2022
WORLD

Pushback on Obama’s plan to stem gun violence

55 percent of Americans generally favor stricter gun control laws, poll shows.

President Barack Obama on Wednesday proposed background checks on all gun sales and bans on military style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines as part of a package of steps to reduce gun violence in the wake of the Newtown school massacre last month, CNN reports. With relatives of some of the 20 children killed in the Connecticut rampage looking on, Obama signed 23 executive actions — which don’t require congressional approval – to strengthen existing gun laws and take related steps on mental health and school safety. He also called on Congress to reinstate an assault weapons ban that expired in 2004, to restrict ammunition magazines to no more than 10 rounds, and to expand background checks to anyone buying a gun, whether at a store or in a private sale at an auction or convention.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 schools, shopping malls, movie theaters and other public places. 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.Republicans immediately rejected the Obama proposals as an attack on the constitutional right to bear arms. “Nothing the president is proposing would have stopped the massacre at Sandy Hook,” said a statement by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, considered an up-and-coming GOP leader. “President Obama is targeting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens instead of seriously addressing the real underlying causes of such violence.” The powerful National Rifle Association said it would work with Congress to find what it called “real solutions to protecting America’s most valuable asset – our children.” “Attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation,” the NRA said in a statement. “Only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy.”NRA President David Keene said the “Second Amendment is going to survive” Obama’s efforts on gun control. “What we want to see is what they really have in mind. They’ve got bullet points. There’s going to be a lot more to it than that,” Keene said on CNN. Obama called accusations that he seeks to violate gun rights untrue, saying opponents want to wage a campaign of intimidation and fear instead of working with him for needed changes. “We can respect the Second Amendment while keeping an irresponsible law-breaking few from inflicting harm on a massive scale,” he said.

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