President Obama unveiled a comprehensive list of proposals to help reduce gun violence during a press conference on Wednesday, but said that gun safety will not be enhanced without support from the public. Obama called on Americans to stand up to uncompromising gun advocates such as the National Rifle Association (NRA) and challenge lawmakers to support common-sense reforms like universal background checks.
“I believe most [gun owners] agree that If america worked harder to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, there would be fewer atrocities like the one that occurred in Newtown,” Obama said, but warned that “there will be pundits and politicians and special interest lobbyists, publicly warning of a tyrannical all-out assault on liberty” to “gin up fear or higher ratings or revenue for themselves.” Obama said that Americans have a responsibility to fight back against such smear campaigns:
OBAMA: The only way we will be able to change is if their audience, their constituents, their membership says, this time must be different, that this time we must do something to protect our communities and our kids. I will put everything I’ve got into this, and so will Joe. But I tell you, the only way we can change is if the American people demand it. And by the way, that doesn’t just mean from certain parts of the country. We’re going to need voices in those areas, in those Congressional districts where the tradition of gun ownership is strong to speak up and to say this is important….If parents and teachers, police officers and pastors, if hunters and sportsmen, if responsible gun owners, if Americans of every background stand up and say, enough, we’ve suffered too much pain and cared too much about our children to allow this to continue, then change will come. That’s what it’s going to take.
Obama urged the public to ask lawmakers “what’s more important? Doing whatever it takes to get an ‘A’ grade from the gun lobby that funds their campaigns, or giving parents some peace of mind when they drop their child off for first grade?”
Meanwhile, the NRA has released an attacking Obama’s daughters and has cast its opposition to Obama’s proposal as “the fight of the century.” The Washington Post reports that “in a letter circulated at the 35th annual Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show and Conference,” Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre warned that Obama’s effort is “about banning your guns … PERIOD!”
“The NRA sat in on a White House meeting that was sold to the public as an ‘open discussion’ about how to improve school safety.” LaPierre wrote. “But that was a dirty lie. They didn’t listen to gun owners’ concerns…they didn’t consider any real solutions on how we can keep our kids safe. Instead Barack Obama, Joe Biden and their gun ban allies in Congress only want to BLAME you, VILIFY you, BULLY you, and STRIP you of your Second Amendment freedoms.”
Following Obama’s address, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) announced that the committee’s first gun violence hearing will be on January 30.
Marco Rubio came out against Obama’s proposal minutes after he unveiled it:
“Guns are not the problem; criminals with evil in their hearts and mentally ill people prone to violence are. Rather than sweeping measures that make it harder for responsible, law-abiding citizens to purchase firearms, we should focus on the root causes of gun violence and keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.
“As a strong defender of the 2nd Amendment, I will oppose the President’s attempts to undermine Americans’ constitutional right to bear arms.”
Rick Perry is disgusted by the plan:
“In fact, the piling on by the political left, and their cohorts in the media, to use the massacre of little children to advance a pre-existing political agenda that would not have saved those children, disgusts me, personally. The second amendment to the Constitution is a basic right of free people and cannot be nor will it be abridged by the executive power of this or any other president.”