President Sheds Tears as He Lays Out New Rules to Curb Gun Violence


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Credit: Carolyn Kaster/AP

Credit: Carolyn Kaster/AP

After several days of build up, a tearful President Barack Obama laid out new rules through executive action to help curb the nation’s epidemic of gun violence.

Obama laid out a series of new rules focused on cracking down on unlicensed gun sellers who allow guns too easily to fall into the hands of those who may use them to inflict harm on others, as well as other proposals, such as expanding access to mental health care.


Despite 30,000 deaths from guns per year, Congress has refused to address the issue. In response, Mr. Obama used his executive authority within the confines of current law to expand the reach of law enforcement agencies to better police weapons transfers.

In laying out the new executive orders, Mr. Obama recalled the numerous mass shootings that have terrified the nation in recent years, from San Bernardino, to a church in South Carolina, to the unspeakable tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2013 where 26 people were killed, including 20 children.

A president in tears. An emotional Barack Obama talks about the child victims of gun violence as he unveils new restrictions. #guncontrol

Posted by BBC News on Tuesday, January 5, 2016

When speaking about Sandy Hook, Mr. Obama had to pause as tears welled in his eyes.

“Our unalienable right to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness, those rights were stripped from college kids in Blacksburg and Santa Barbara, and from high schoolers in Columbine, and… and from first graders in Newtown. … First graders…”

“Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad,” Obama said wiping away tears from his cheeks.

The President’s impassioned speech drew a chorus of applause from the audience and gun control advocates.

The New York Times editorial wrote:

“Mr. Obama is not taking away any law-abiding citizen’s guns or changing the Second Amendment. To the contrary, his actions are in line with the stated priorities of gun-rights activists: keeping guns from people likely to use them in crimes, and enforcing gun laws already on the books.”

The key proposals are:

“The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is making clear that it doesn’t matter where you conduct your business—from a store, at gun shows, or over the Internet: If you’re in the business of selling firearms, you must get a license and conduct background checks.”

“The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is overhauling the background check system to make it more effective and efficient. The envisioned improvements include processing background checks 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and improving notification of local authorities when certain prohibited persons unlawfully attempt to buy a gun. The FBI will hire more than 230 additional examiners and other staff to help process these background checks.”

“The Administration is proposing a new $500 million investment to increase access to mental health care.”

The White House blog listed out the proposals in full.


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