In the News
January 3, 2016
By Jenny Bourne
Jenny Bourne - The White House announced Monday they will outline a plan to expand background checks for gun sales and increase funding for mental health treatment.
According to CNN, President Obama said he wanted to create new restrictions on gun laws in the wake of several mass shootings.
"These are not only recommendations that are well within my legal authority and the executive branch," Obama told reporters gathered in the Oval Office. "But they are also ones that the overwhelming majority of the American people, including gun owners, support and believe in."
Obama will hold a town hall meeting on Thursday to further discuss his plans and is likely to address the issue next week during his final State of the Union address.
California Congressman Scott Peters was invited by the president to meet with him and a handful of other members of Congress strong stand in the fight to reduce gun violence.
“Americans are being gunned down in public places all across this nation while members of Congress go to work in buildings secured by police at every entry and do nothing because Republican leadership is afraid to stand up to the gun lobby," Congressman Peters said. “Today’s meeting was about refusing to accept everyday gun violence as normal and taking steps to keep guns out of dangerous hands. I’d much prefer Congressional action, but if Speaker Ryan cannot summon the courage to call a vote on gun safety legislation, the President is left with no choice but to take executive action in order to save American lives. While these actions are an important step in the right direction, they do not let Congress off the hook. I will continue to remind Speaker Ryan and House leadership of the human cost of their inaction until they allow a vote on bipartisan measures to permanently close deadly loopholes in our background check system.”
As expected, reactions to Mr. Obama's plans are mixed.
Presidential candidate Donald Trump told CNN any new restrictions would be limiting Americans access to guns.
House Speaker Paul Ryan called out the President's "dismissiveness" toward the Second Amendment as well as Congress.
"While we don't yet know the details of the plan, the President is at minimum subverting the legislative branch, and potentially overturning its will," Ryan said in a statement Monday. "His proposals to restrict gun rights were debated by the United States Senate, and they were rejected. No President should be able to reverse legislative failure by executive fiat, not even incrementally."
On the other hand, Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced she supported the president's actions, but warned that electing a Republican for president in 2017 would effectively undo any progress that followed.
"We've got to act," she said, "but I don't think that's enough and I think we're going to have to keep pushing forward on the political front and I intend to do that, to take on the gun lobby and to work with responsible gun owners."
Obama said in his radio address on New Year's Day he would be meeting with Lynch to "discuss our options," as opposed to doing nothing.
"I get letters from responsible gun owners who grieve with us every time these tragedies happen; who share my belief that the Second Amendment guarantees a right to bear arms; and who share my belief we can protect that right while keeping an irresponsible, dangerous few from inflicting harm on a massive scale," he said.
The resulting rulings and subsequent appeals are likely to drag on well beyond the end of this administration.