President Obama, introduced to the podium by an eloquent speech from Vice President Joe Biden, gave the details of a proposal to curb gun violence that includes universal background checks. In front of an audience that included the parents of children killed in the Newtown shooting, and children who wrote letters asking the President to take action on gun violence, Obama signed 23 executive actions that strengthen gun control. These actions don’t require Congressional approval. They also include nominating an Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) director and clarification to the Affordable Care Act that tells doctors they’re not prohibited from asking patients about guns in the home.
The proposal also included items that require Congress’ approval. Among them is a reinstatement of the assault weapons ban and placing a limit on ammunition magazines to 10 rounds. The New York Times has a complete list of items in the complete proposal. According to CNN, “A main focus of Obama’s steps was closing loopholes in background checks. While requiring universal background checks would require congressional approval, some of the executive actions signed by Obama were intended to bolster the existing system.”
Already, and as expected, the GOP has an issue with the proposal. “Nothing the president is proposing would have stopped the massacre at Sandy Hook,” said Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in a statement.
Others who are opposed to more strict gun laws say the President’s proposal doesn’t address the criminal element forcefully enough.
Of course, among those opposed to the President’s suggestions (opposed even before they were made) is the NRA. Prior to today’s press conference, the NRA released an ad that called the President an “elitist hypocrite” and asked “Are the president’s kids more important than yours?” because they get Secret Service protection. Slate, which has the ad, quotes White House spokesperson Jay Carney, who said:
Most Americans agree that a president’s children should not be used as pawns in a political fight. But to go so far as to make the safety of the president’s children the subject of an attack ad is repugnant and cowardly.
We couldn’t agree more. Carney and the White House weren’t the only ones with a strong negative reaction. If you care to see it, it’s after the jump. The NRA also recently released a target practice game that came under fire. Unbelievable.
Following today’s press conference, stocks for “gun-related companies” as USA Today calls them, jumped more than five percent across the board.
To watch the entire press conference (it’s about 26 minutes), click here.