After President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden unveiled their 15-page plan to curb gun violence, more than 200,000 people, yesterday, called on Republicans in Congress to support sensible reforms to stop gun violence, stated Nancy Pelosi, minority leader in the House. The president asked for support and it was given.
“And yet, that doesn’t mean this is going to be easy to enact or implement,” Obama said during Thursday’s announcement. “If it were, we’d already have universal background checks. The ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines never would have been allowed to expire. More of our fellow Americans might still be alive, celebrating birthdays and anniversaries and graduations.” Have no doubt; more public approval is needed.
The National Rifle Association of America responded to gun control proposals by first acknowledging the organization promotes safety and responsible gun ownership, and that keeping children and society safe remains a top priority. Then, it went on to say, “Attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation. Only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy.” See videos and read more at www.nraila.org and http://home.nra.org/#/nraorg.
Obama, anticipating that response, said, “This [implementing the anti-gun violence plan] will be difficult. 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. And behind the scenes, they’ll do everything they can to block any common-sense reform and make sure nothing changes whatsoever.
“The only way we will be able to change is if their audience, their constituents, their memberships say this time must be different," the president reiterated, "that this time, we must do something to protect our communities and out kids.
“I will put everything I’ve got into this,” Obama promised, “and so will Joe. But I tell you, the only way we can change is if the American people demand it. And by the way, that doesn’t just mean from certain parts of the country. We’re going to need voices in those areas, in those congressional districts, where the tradition of gun ownership is strong, to speak up and to say this is important. It can’t just be the usual suspects. We have to examine ourselves and our hearts, and ask ourselves what is important.”
Past attempts failed to restrict assault weapons and ammunition, designed to kill people in combat settings. Democrats in Congress geared up once again to present and pass legislation critical for any significant reduction in gun violence. That includes closing the private sales loophole in background checks to make those checks universal, and reinstating the ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines holding more than 10 rounds. Other loopholes, resting in the hands of Congress to close, are banning the possession of armor-piercing ammunition by and its transfer to anyone other than the military and law enforcement, and insuring firearms imported as curios or relics are actually of interest as collectibles.
“These and other crucially needed reforms are long overdue and can be implemented while still protecting gun owners’ legitimate rights,” stated Congressman George Miller when the Democratic Caucus Task Gun Violence Prevention Task Force was formed.
House Democrats held a hearing on gun violence Thursday. Philadelphia Mayor Nutter was one of the speakers discussing not only the problems caused by gun violence but possible solutions. He was joined by Dr. Janet Robinson, superintendent of schools in Newtown, Conn. and others on the front lines of gun violence. Click here for more details.
Some members of Congress and the president clearly do not believe all gun tragedies are inevitable. The plan is to make children safer without infringing on 2nd amendment rights to bear arms. While Congress shapes and debates legislation to that effect, Obama is taking executive action.
Three presidential memorandums were signed on Thursday: 1) Improve the availability of information to databases accessible by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System from federal, state, and tribal authorities. The department of justice is now authorized to request and assist all relevant authorities to comply with NICS regulations and, by October 1, 2013, provide the president with a report on the program’s effectiveness. 2) Maximize the effectiveness of current firearms tracing from manufacturer through sales and the corresponding impact of combating violent crimes involving firearms. Federal law enforcement must now ensure that all firearms taken in their custody are traced through the ATF. Firearms tracing is an important investigative tool in individual criminal cases and aggregate data provide patterns of gun movement and sources. A report on effectiveness of federal gun tracing protocols is required within 90 days. 3) The president considers gun violence a serious public health issue and, with that in mind, he authorized Health and Human Services and the Center for Disease Control to research the causes of gun violence and ways to prevent it.
Those orders were signed in front of 4 children who wrote letters asking Obama to take action. The president said 23 executive actions would be taken. Read more about them in the 15-page plan at www.whitehouse.gov/now-is-the-time.
Further administrative steps can be expected to strengthen existing laws, procedures, services, and databases in order to: close background check loopholes that keep guns out of dangerous hands; give law enforcement additional tools to prevent and prosecute gun crime; preserve the rights of health care providers to protect their patients and communities from gun violence; encourage gun owners to live up to their responsibility to store guns safely; make schools safer; and improve mental health services and coverage.
The plan identifies almost $4.4 billion for executive portions of the plan and specifically asks Congress to approve $4.07 billion this year. Most the funds, $4.0 billion would fund keeping 15,000 police officers on the streets across the nation.
Obama reminded the nation that more than 900 fellow Americans have reportedly died at the end of a gun in the month since the Sandy Hook school shooting. The number grows every day. “We should do as much as we can, as quickly as we can,” stated Biden. “And, we cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”
The administration intends to campaign for its Now is the Time plan around the country. Anyone wishing to voice support of plan and Congressional related action may visit http://my.barackobama.com/Gun-Reform or click here.
All rights to this article are reserved by Gloria Blakely. Copyright 2013.