‘Ignoring children is NOT the solution’: NRA declares war on Obama’s gun control laws after President signs 23 executive orders to try to halt America’s gun crime epidemic
- Measures include universal background checks on all gun buyers, renewed ban on ‘military-style’ assault weapons and a 10-round limit on magazines
- National Rifle Association says it’s gearing up for ‘fight of the century’ against Obama while members meet in Las Vegas
- At the close of his address, Obama high-fives kids who wrote him letters asking for greater gun controls in the aftermath of Sandy Hook massacre
PUBLISHED: 12:39 EST, 16 January 2013 | UPDATED: 06:47 EST, 17 January 2013
The National Rifle Association tonight blasted the sweeping set of gun control proposals put forth by President Obama just hours ago, saying that the 23 executive orders that he signed will do nothing to combat violence in America.
‘Attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation,’ the NRA said in a statement.
‘Only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy.’
The orders that President Obama signed on Wednesday prompt the most wide-spread restrictions in the past two decades, with measures including universal background checks on all gun buyers, a renewed ban on ‘military-style’ assault weapons and a 10-round limit on ammunition magazines.
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Obama is calling for greater gun controls in reaction to the December 14 massacre of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.
He made the remarks in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building to an audience that included parents of the Newtown victims as well as gun children who wrote him letters asking for greater gun controls in the aftermath of the shooting.
‘We can’t put this off any longer,’ Obama said. ‘When it comes to protecting the most vulnerable among us we must act now.’
Following his address, Obama high-fived four children who had written him letters and whom he had invited to join him on stage. He then sat down at a desk to sign 23 executive actions aiming to strengthen existing gun laws.
Meanwhile, the National Rifle Association was meeting in Las Vegas and gearing up for the ‘fight of the century’ to keep laws unchanged.
‘I warned you this day was coming and now it’s here,’ Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s executive vice president, wrote in a fund-raising letter circulated at the 35th annual Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show and Conference, known as the ‘SHOT show.’
It’s not about protecting your children. It’s not about stopping crime. It’s about banning your guns … PERIOD!
Obama acknowledged that his proposals would face a tough fight from the famously powerful gun lobby as well as from members of Congress.
‘The 23 executive actions I’m announcing today in no way substitute for action from members of Congress,’ Obama said with Vice President Joe Biden standing by his side.
‘This will be difficult,’ he continued. ‘There will be pundits, politicians and special interest lobbyists warning of a tyrannical, all-out assault on liberty. Not because that’s true, but because they want to gin up fear or higher ratings or revenue for themselves. And behind the scenes they will do everything they can to block any commons-sense reforms.’
The only way to win this battle, he said, is if the American people say ‘this time will be different.’
‘(Change) will not happen unless the American people demand it,’ he said.
The NRA are not the only ones who have a problem with the proposals, as Senator Marco Rubio from Florida broke with the trend of many elected officials- who issued vague and non-committal statements about the orders- by coming out strongly against them.
‘Nothing the president is proposing would have stopped the massacre at Sandy Hook. President Obama is targeting the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens instead of seriously addressing the real underlying causes of such violence,’ Rubio said in a statement.
OBAMA’S LEGISLATIVE PROPOSALS
-Require criminal background checks for all gun sales. (a.k.a. closing the “gun show loophole.”)
-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.
Obama’s legislative proposals, such as a requirement for universal background checks, must gain majority approval from the Republican-led House before becoming law. But with the well-financed NRA and its four million members standing in opposition, there’s little hope that Obama will get what he wants.
But that doesn’t mean he won’t try, Obama said, promising to put ‘everything [he’s] got’ into the fight.
‘It’s time for Congress to require a universal background check for anyone trying to buy a gun,’ he said. ‘If you want to buy a gun… you should at least have to show you are not a felon.’
Private sellers, who typically sell firearms online or at gun shows, are not required to conduct background checks under current law.
Obama went on to say that he supports the ‘strong tradition of gun ownership’ in the U.S., but added that ‘military-style assault weapons’ should be banned because they only have one purpose – to pump out as many bullets as possible.
‘Weapons designed for a theater of war have no place in a movie theater,’ he said, referring to the mass shooting in an Aurora, Colo. movie theater on July 20, 2012.
Obama also called on Congress to confirm his nomination of Todd Jones as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Congress hasn’t approved a nomination to the agency in six years and Jones is currently acting director.
Obama unveiled his plan for tighter gun controls hours after the National Rifle Associated released an attack ad against him for using Secret Service protection for his two daughters while he opposes the deployment of armed guards in schools.
‘Are the president’s kids more important than yours?’ the ad’s narrator asks as an image flashes on the screen of a child’s hand holding a lunchbox emblazoned with the presidential seal. ‘Then why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools, when his kids are protected by armed guards at their school?’
The ad cuts to a picture of Obama flanked by NBC’s David Gregory, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Vice President Joe Biden.
The narrator continues: ‘Mr. Obama demands the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes, but he’s just another elitist hypocrite when it comes to a fair share of security.
‘Protection for their kids – and gun-free zones for ours.’
The 30-second ad, published on a website for the NRA’s new ‘Stand and Fight’ campaign.
The White House condemned the message as ‘repugnant and cowardly.’
‘Most Americans agree that a president’s children should not be used as pawns in a political fight,’ White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said. ‘But to go so far as to make the safety of the president’s children the subject of an attack ad is repugnant and cowardly.’
The children who joined Obama on stage during his address Wednesday included eight-year-old Grant Fritz, 11-year-old Julia Stokes, eight-year-old Hinna Zeejah and 10-year-old Taejah Goode.
In a letter addressed to Obama written in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting, Fritz wrote, ‘It’s a free country but I recommend there needs [to] be a limit with guns. Please don’t let people own machine guns or other powerful guns like that.’
At the end of his letter dated Dec. 17, Grant wrote: ‘P.S. I know you’re doing your best.’
The other children had all written similar letters to the president, which is why they were all asked to join him as he made his push for greater gun controls.
‘I am writing to ask you to STOP gun violence,’ wrote Goode, who is from Georgia. ‘I am very sad about the children who lost their lives. So, I thought I would write to you to STOP gun violence.’
Stokes, who is from Washington D.C., wrote that she has four siblings and ‘I know I would not be able to bear the thought of losing any of them.’
She asked Obama to make it ‘very hard’ for people to buy guns.
PRESIDENT OBAMA’S 23 EXECUTIVE ACTIONS ON GUN CONTROL
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.
VIDEO Obama calls on Congress to pass assault weapons ban
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