Obama is calling for the biggest effort to rein in guns in a generation, with action from both the executive and legislative branches:
“This is our first task as a society: keeping our children safe. This is how we will be judged,” Obama said. “We can’t put this off any longer.”
The proposal, which comes at the end of a month-long review process spearheaded by Vice President Joe Biden, is broken down into four key subsections: law enforcement, the availability of dangerous firearms and ammunition, school safety and mental health.
In an effort to touch on all four of those elements, the president recommended requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales; reinstating the assault weapons ban; restoring a 10-round limit on ammunition magazines; eliminating armor-piercing bullets; providing mental health services in schools; allocating funds to hire more police officers; and instituting a federal gun trafficking statute, among other policies. The cost of the package, senior officials estimated, would be roughly $500 million, some of which could come from already budgeted funds.
The press had accurately anticipated the proposals designed to rein in easy gun access for crooks and criminals:
Barack Obama is poised to propose a rigorous new system of background checks on all buyers of firearms as the centrepiece of what amounts to the largest campaign in a generation to tighten America’s gun laws.
Obama will unveil a plethora of new legislative proposals, together with 19 executive actions that he can introduce without congressional approval, at a White House event on Wednesday morning. The president will be flanked by children who have written into him about their desire for change in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in which 27 people died including 20 young pupils.
Top of the list of demands from gun control groups is the closure of massive loopholes in the current federal system of background checks. Unlicensed gun sellers who trade through gun shows or on the internet do not have to ask their customers to undergo the FBI checks – which means that fully 40% of weapons sold in the US every year are exempt from federal safeguards.