Pharos-Tribune

Breaking news

January 16, 2013

Obama unveils $500 million gun violence package

Washington — Braced for a fight, President Barack Obama on Wednesday unveiled the most sweeping proposals for curbing gun violence in two decades, pressing a reluctant Congress to pass universal background checks and bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines like the ones used in the Newtown, Conn., school shooting.

A month after that horrific massacre, Obama also used his presidential powers to enact 23 measures that don't require the backing of lawmakers. The president's executive actions include ordering federal agencies to make more data available for background checks, appointing a director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and directing the Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence.

But the president, speaking at White House ceremony, focused his attention on the divided Congress, saying only lawmakers could enact the most effective measures for preventing more mass shootings.

"To make a real and lasting difference, Congress must act," Obama said. "And Congress must act soon."

The president vowed to use "whatever weight this office holds" to press lawmakers into action on his $500 million plan. He is also calling for improvements in school safety, including putting 1,000 police officers in schools and bolstering mental health care by training more health professionals to deal with young people who may be at risk.

Even supportive lawmakers say the president's gun control proposals — most of which are opposed by the powerful National Rifle Association — face long odds on Capitol Hill.

House Speaker John Boehner's office was non-committal to the president's package of proposed legislation, but signaled no urgency to act. "House committees of jurisdiction will review these recommendations," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said. "And if the Senate passes a bill, we will also take a look at that."

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy said ahead of Obama's presentation that he didn't know whether an assault weapons ban could pass the Senate, but said there are some measures that can, such as improved background checks.

"There are some who say nothing will pass. I disagree with that," Leahy, D-Vt., told students at Georgetown University Law Center. "What I'm interested in is what we can get."

Acknowledging the tough fight ahead, Obama said there will be pundits, politicians and special interest groups that will seek to "gin up fear" that the White House wants to take away the right to own a gun.

"Behind the scenes, they'll do everything they can to block any commonsense reform and make sure nothing changes whatsoever," he said. "The only way we will be able to change is if their audience, their constituents, their membership says this time must be different, that this time we must do something to protect our communities and our kids."

The president was flanked by children who wrote him letters about gun violence in the weeks following the Newtown shooting. Families of those killed in the massacre, as well as survivors of the shooting, were also in the audience, along with law enforcement officers and congressional lawmakers.

"This is our first task as a society, keeping our children safe," Obama said. "This is how we will be judged."

Seeking to expand the impetus for addressing gun violence beyond the Newtown shooting, the president said more than 900 Americans have been killed by guns in the month since the elementary school massacre.

"Every day we wait, the number will keep growing," he said.

The White House has signaled that Obama could launch a campaign to boost public support for his proposals. Nearly six in 10 Americans want stricter gun laws in the aftermath of the Newtown shooting, with majorities favoring a nationwide ban on military-style, rapid-fire weapons and limits on gun violence depicted in video games, movies and TV shows, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.

A lopsided 84 percent of adults would like to see the establishment of a federal standard for background checks for people buying guns at gun shows, the poll showed.

The president based his proposals on recommendations from an administration-wide task force led by Vice President Joe Biden. His plan marks the most comprehensive effort to address gun violence since Congress passed the 1994 ban on high-grade, military-style assault weapons. The ban expired in 2004, and Obama wants lawmakers to renew and expand it.

Other measures Obama wants Congress to take up include limiting high-capacity ammunition magazines and requiring background checks for all gun buyers in an attempt to close the so-called "gun-show loophole" that allows people to buy guns at trade shows and over the Internet without submitting to background checks.

Obama also intends to seek confirmation for B. Todd Jones, who has served as acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives since 2011.

The president's plan does little to address violent images in video games, movies and entertainment, beyond asking the CDC to study their impact on gun crimes. Some pro-gun lawmakers who are open to addressing stricter arms legislation have insisted they would do so only in tandem with recommendations for addressing violence in entertainment.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Breaking news
  • UPDATED: Logansport HS teacher arrested on child seduction charge

    A Logansport High School teacher was arrested Thursday on a charge of child seduction.

    April 18, 2014

  • Cause of fire that killed 2 boys still unknown LAFAYETTE (AP) — A central Indiana sheriff says investigators are continuing to work on what led up to a house fire this month that killed 3-year old twin brothers. Tippecanoe County Sheriff Tracy Brown says county detectives and a state fire invest

    April 18, 2014

  • Board member asks for old Indiana school standards INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A State Board of Education member is calling for a proposed overhaul of Indiana's education standards to be ditched and that the state's old benchmarks be reinstated in classrooms this fall. Board member Andrea Neal said Friday t

    April 18, 2014

  • Murder Suicide Indiana [Duplicate] 2 Indianapolis officers dead in murder-suicide INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A suspended Indianapolis police sergeant and his police officer ex-wife died in an apparent murder-suicide, the city police chief said. Officers called to Officer Kimberlee Carmack's home in a neighborhood on the city's far west

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bloomington mayor vetoes preserve deer hunt plan BLOOMINGTON (AP) — The mayor of Bloomington has vetoed an ordinance that would allow sharpshooters to thin the deer heard at a city nature preserve. Mayor Mark Kruzan (kroo-ZAN') says he can't support the proposal and that he also opposed the start

    April 18, 2014

  • Southwest Airlines flight lands safely post-threat INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indianapolis airport spokesman says a Southwest Airlines flight has safely made an emergency landing after the airline received some kind of threat. Spokesman Carlo Bertolini says Southwest Flight 362 requested the emergency l

    April 18, 2014

  • Indiana reading test results steady from last year INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — New test results show the reading levels among Indiana's third graders made slight progress from last year. The Indiana Department of Education released data Thursday from the spring 2014 IREAD 3 test showing about 85 percent of

    April 17, 2014

  • Central Indiana county treasurer bonds from jail MUNCIE (AP) — A central Indiana county treasurer facing official misconduct charges is out of jail after a judge reduced his bond. A judge on Wednesday cut the bond amount for Delaware County Treasurer John Dorer from $400,000 to $50,000. Dorer poste

    April 17, 2014

  • 4 students taken to hospital after smoking spice COLUMBUS (AP) — Officials say central Indiana high school students were taken to a hospital after becoming ill from smoking the synthetic marijuana known as spice. Bartholomew Consolidated Schools spokesman Larry Perkinson says a boy went to the Col

    April 17, 2014

  • Indianapolis police trained to give overdose drug NDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indianapolis police and emergency responders are receiving training to deliver antidotes to overdoses of heroin and other narcotics. WISH-TV and WIBC-FM report Indianapolis emergency medical services crews this week are teaching In

    April 17, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should mushroom hunters be allowed to forage off-trail in Indiana state parks?

Yes
No
Undecided
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.