Obama signs twenty-three gun control executive orders
Published: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Updated: Thursday, January 17, 2013 01:01
President Obama signed twenty-three executive orders into law on Wednesday in response to the most recent mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Obama also called congress to pass new gun control legislation including a renewal and reinforcement of an assault-weapon ban. The Center for Disease Control and other publicly funded entities will receive additional resources and federal support to help combat the epidemic of mass shootings, as the administration calls it.
After the Sandy Hook Elementary Massacre, in which 20 children and 7 adults were gunned down and murdered, President Obama ordered Vice President Biden to create a focus group where he would review steps the president could take to make a safer environment for Americans without infringing on fundamental second amendment rights.
One executive orders gives the CDC a directive to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.
“We don’t benefit from ignorance,” said Obama during his speech on Wednesday. “We don’t benefit from not knowing the science of this epidemic of violence.”
The research will involve investigating the cause of violent gun murders that annually take the lives of over 10,000 Americans and what violent video games and other “desensitizing” forms of entertainment have on the youth of America, as some psychologists suggest.
Another major executive action was the order to various federal agencies to make readily available background checks for potential firearm buyers. This allows records from one state to show up in another, so a felon wouldn’t be able to purchase a gun by simply traveling across state lines.
Soon after the announcement of the executive orders, Obama called Congress to act legislatively against gun violence.
“First, it’s time for Congress to require a universal background check for anyone trying to buy a gun,” said the president. “… It’s hard to enforce [the current background check] law when as many as 40 percent of all gun purchases are conducted without a background check.”
The second call to action was for congress to enact and enforce a new assault weapons ban along with new laws limiting magazines to ten rounds.
College Republicans President and junior pre-law major Ramiro Jaime Jr. said that a ten-round magazine limit does not help make a safer environment.
“If I’m untrained and someone [attacks me] and I panic and just start shooting, all [ten] bullets are gone and [the attacker] knows that,” said Jaime. “I completely disagree with that. I think that’s dumb.”
After his congressional call-to-action, President Obama cited the mass shootings inside an Aurora, Colorado movie theatre in which James Holmes shot 70 people in a matter of minutes with the help of an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle with a 100-round drum magazine.
“Weapons designed for the theatre of war have no place in a movie theatre,” said Obama.
During the press conference, Obama quoted former Presidents Gerald R. Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan.
“We urge [Congress] to listen to the American public and to the law enforcement community and support a ban on the further manufacture of [military-style assault] weapons,” said the presidents in a letter to the US House of Representatives in 1994. “While we recognize that assault weapon legislation will not stop all assault weapon crime, statistics prove that we can dry up the supply of these guns, making them less accessible to criminals.”
Responses from pro-gun advocates and the GOP came soon after Wednesday’s press conference. Almost immediately after the press conference, House Majority Leader Boehner said, “House committees of jurisdiction will review these recommendations. And if the Senate passes a bill, we will also take a look at that.”
In an effort to belittle the president, the NRA published an advertisement on Tuesday calling Obama a “hypocritical elitist” because he protects his own children with armed guards, but fails to put armed guards in every school, as called for by the NRA in late December. Coincidentally, the president also signed an executive order that provides incentives for schools to hire resource officers during Wednesday’s press conference.
In a press release, Texas’ District-8 Representative Kevin Brady said that president’s actions wouldn’t keep children safe at school or protect second amendment rights.
“I want our children safe at school and our Second Amendment rights protected at home. The President’s proposals do neither,” said Brady. “Strong gun control laws in Connecticut didn’t stop the Sandy Hook tragedy - and won’t stop others like them in America. In fact, areas with the most restrictive gun laws historically suffer from higher rates of gun violence.”
Rep. Brady will be holding a town-hall meeting at The Woodlands United Methodist Church on January 24 at 6:00 p.m., when the gun control debate will be a topic discussed, according to his staff.