Just a day after Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, President Barack Obama presented a comprehensive gun violence reduction program that will focus on implementing 23 executive orders (full-force law) that echoed the non-violent reverend’s “The Time Is Now” speech.
While the fight in these speeches is different today, the parallels that focus on reducing violence and protecting our nations children are striking. Obama spoke in front of families from Newtown, victims of mass shootings, and four students who wrote him letters urging gun laws to be changed.
“If there’s even one life that can be saved, then we’ve got an obligation to try,” Obama said.
The President said today in a press conference that the new plan would work on closing background check loopholes to keep guns out of dangerous hands, ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and taking other common-sense steps to reduce gun violence. The plan also aims to make schools safer and increase access to mental health services.
“Weapons designed for a theater of war have no place in a movie theater,” the president said.
Highlights of that plan include the following:
-Require criminal background checks for all gun sales.
-Take four executive actions to ensure information on dangerous
individuals is available to the background check system.
-Reinstate and strengthen the assault weapons ban.
-Restore the 10-round limit on ammunition magazines.
-Protect police by finishing the job of getting rid of armor-piercing bullets.
-Give law enforcement additional tools to prevent and prosecute gun crime.
-End the freeze on gun violence research.
-Make our schools safer with more school resource officers and school counselors, safer climates, and better emergency response plans.
-Help ensure that young people get the mental health treatment they need.
-Ensure health insurance plans cover mental health benefits.
To do these things, the President said he would do what he could within his existing authorities. And though some are calling for his impeachment if done, the President announced 23 new executive actions to make progress right away.
These actions, the White House said, would:
“Help make sure information about potentially dangerous people who are barred from having guns is available to the national background check system; lift the ban on research into the causes of gun violence; make sure doctors know they can report credible threats of violence by their patients; put more resource officers and counselors in schools; and ensure millions of Americans get quality mental health coverage.”
The president, who mentioned that political pundits and gun advocates would try to label his comprehensive plan as tyrannical attack against our liberties, urged the American people, especially those where gun ownership is tradition, to stand up against gun violence.
“This will not happen unless the American people demand it. The only way we can change is if the American people demand it.”
To see the new executive orders in full, see the list from the White House below:
- 1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.
- 2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.
- 3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.
- 4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.
- 5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.
- 6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.
- 7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.
- 8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).
- 9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
- 10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.
- 11. Nominate an ATF director.
- 12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.
- 13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.
- 14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.
- 15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies.
- 16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.
- 17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.
- 18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.
- 19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.
- 20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.
- 21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.
- 22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.
- 23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.
We applaud the President on his courage and strength during a time when the country could see a real divide over gun-control issues and we wish the gun violence task force the best as they take the necessary steps to fight gun violence.
Do you think that the 23 executive orders are necessary? Watch the video below:
SOURCE: White House