President Barack Obama announced a package of executive orders and legislative proposals today that would tighten gun laws across the country, just over one month after the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings in Newtown, Conn.
Obama announced that he would propose legislation by next week that would include a ban on new assault weapons, limits on high-capacity magazines, expanded background checks for gun purchases and tougher gun trafficking laws to crack down on the spread of weapons across the country. Obama also signed a series of executive orders – which he is permitted to do without congressional approval – that are designed to enforce existing gun regulations and improve the flow of information to expedite background checks.
“In the days ahead, I intend to use whatever weight this office holds to make them a reality,” Obama said. “If there’s even one life that can be saved, then we’ve got an obligation to try.”
Onstage with the president and Vice President Joe Biden — who led a task force to examine gun control — were four school-aged children who had written Obama in the wake of the shooting to ask for tighter gun laws. The room was packed with Sandy Hook victims’ families and gun control advocates.
Obama’s legislative proposals are expected to be a tough sell with congressional Republicans, many of whom support the NRA-backed decision that increased gun regulation would not reduce violence. House Republicans are expected not to act until the Senate has passed a bill encompassing Obama’s proposals.