Unveiling gun control initiative, Obama cites 'common-sense measures'
President Obama shared the stage with schoolchildren as he announced a gun control plan to combat violence. Top of the list: banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, making schools safer, and improving mental health services.
President Obama unveiled a sweeping initiative Wednesday aimed at reducing gun violence in America, including proposals to ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines and expand background checks to include all gun purchases, not just those at stores.Skip to next paragraph
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Mr. Obama also announced 23 executive actions that do not require congressional approval, such as improved tracking of recovered guns, improvements to the federal background check system, enhanced school safety, and greater national attention to mental health.
“They're common-sense measures,” Obama said, speaking in an auditorium at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House. “They have the support of the majority of the American people.”
But, he added, speaking of the aspects that require congressional approval, “that doesn't mean any of this is going to be easy to enact or implement.”
The president also nominated the acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, B. Todd Jones, to become director of the agency, which has gone six years without permanent leadership. Gun rights activists have sought to limit the reach of the ATF, which regulates the firearms industry.
Obama’s initiative comes a month after the massacre of 26 schoolchildren and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., a tragedy that shocked the nation in a way that other mass shootings have not. Included in the audience were victims’ families. On stage with the president were four children who had written him letters after the Newtown massacre.
“This is our first task as a society, keeping our children safe,” Obama said. “This is how we will be judged. And their voices should compel us to change.”