President Obama continues to make history during his last term in office after he recently became the first sitting President to take an executive stance, without Congress, against gun violence and gun control in America.
Obama was brought to tears as he discussed the horrific trends of mass shootings that have taken place in our Country due to lack of government interference on the issue of gun control.
In the first working week of his last calendar year in office, President Barack Obama defied Congress and pursued long-stalled gun control methods through executive action.
Obama gave a speech on his proposals at the White House on Tuesday, where he was joined by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was shot in the head along with 18 others at a supermarket in Tucson five years ago this week. The president was introduced by Mark Barden, the father of one of the 20 children killed in the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Tearing up during his remarks, Obama emphasized a point he’s made after the many mass shootings that have occurred during his presidency, saying that America is “the only advanced country on Earth that sees this kind of mass violence erupt with this kind of frequency.”
“Somehow, we become numb to it and we start thinking, ‘This is normal,'” Obama said. “Instead of thinking about how to solve the problem, this has become one of our most polarized, partisan debates,” he added.
The series of proposals, which the administration first unveiled on Monday, are designed to shore up holes in the federal background check system for gun purchases, devote millions of additional dollars to mental health services, and kick-start so-called smart gun technology.
Republicans denounced the proposals before they debuted as inherently unconstitutional, foreshadowing what will likely be a contentious legal battle.
“This is a dangerous level of executive overreach, and the country will not stand for it,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.)
But Obama has been increasingly unbowed as his time in the White House comes to a close. Aides said few issues have frustrated him more than the inability to forge a legislative consensus around gun control measures, which failed to pass the Senate in the months following the 2012 Newtown shooting, amid fierce opposition from the National Rifle Association.
“The gun lobby may be holding Congress hostage right now, but they cannot hold America hostage. We do not need to accept this carnage as the price of freedom,” the president said.
“Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad,” he added, in reference to the elementary schoolers who died in Newtown. “And by the way, it happens on the streets of Chicago every day.”
The president’s executive actions, aides said, were birthed from this sense of frustration.
“These are not only recommendations that are well within my legal authority and the executive branch, but they’re also ones that the overwhelming majority of the American people, including gun owners, support me doing,” Obama told reporters on Monday.
Though gun control advocates cheered the executive actions, it wasn’t clear how far their impact would reach. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said she did not have an estimate on how many additional gun dealers would have to obtain licenses to sell firearms or how many more background checks would be conducted. She noted that there was no legal basis for the administration to declare that firearms sellers that conduct more than a certain number of sales should qualify as businesses subject to the background check system.