President Obama on Wednesday unveiled what is being called the most ambitious gun control agenda in decades, initiating 23 separate executive actions aimed at curbing what he called “the epidemic of gun violence in this country,” according to The Washington Post.
According to the White House fact sheet, Obama’s plan includes:
- reinstating and strengthening the assault weapons ban,
- restoring a 10-round limit on ammunition magazines,
- getting rid of armor-piercing bullets,
- ending a freeze on research into gun violence,
- providing additional tools to prevent and prosecute gun crime
- calling on Congress to pass a $4 billion proposal to help communities keep 15,000 police officers on the streets, as well as new gun trafficking legislation that would “impose serious penalties on those who help get guns into the hands of criminals".
- Making schools safer by giving communities the opportunity to hire up to 1,000 school resource officers and school counselors.
Connecticut political reaction came quickly:
New London Mayor Daryl Finizio, a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, said the city is continuing to explore options for a gun buyback and will release details on this initiative next week. Finizio also gave the following statement:
A federal ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines is a common sense restriction on weapons whose only practical application is the mass killing of human beings. While these restrictions may interfere with the recreational firearm use of some citizens, the presence of such weapons of mass destruction in our society represents a clear and present danger to our national security that must be addressed. Such a ban was in place in the past and caused little disruption in the overall right of private gun ownership in the United States.
Congress should not have allowed the previous ban to expire in the first place. If they had maintained the prior law such debates now would be unnecessary. I also fully support the President's use of executive orders to enforce existing gun laws. Gun rights advocates themselves have frequently called for the aggressive enforcement of existing laws and the President's orders do just that. Funding necessary law enforcement positions and appointing a permanent director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are also necessary steps to ensure proper enforcement of existing gun laws.
In addition to these initiatives attention must also be paid to mental health care support and funding. In addition, our entire society must examine the content of violence in our cultural expression. This is not merely a job for government but also for parents and religious leaders as well.
One Million Moms for Gun Control, which has an eastern Connecticut chapter, issued this statement:
We applaud President Obama and his administration for quickly proposing
comprehensive legislation that will help protect American families, and we call on Congress to pass these common-sense measures designed to address the epidemic of gun violence in America.
In particular, One Million Moms for Gun Control supports the administration’s proposal to ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips, as well as proposed universal background checks for all gun purchasers. We call on lawmakers to also consider regulating and tracking ammunition, as there is currently no system in place to do so.
One Million Moms for Gun Control will now apply pressure to members of Congress to move quickly to pass these measures. We call on House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to bring the proposed bills to the floor for a vote in both houses of Congress, leaving partisanship aside in the interest of American families. This legislation must be passed – not debated or diluted. We will not allow special interests to obscure the issue: the safety of
America’s children and families are our priority.
The legislation proposed today by President Obama will enhance the safety of our children in cities, in rural areas, and in the suburbs. Gun violence has become a public health crisis in the United States. Too many American families have been destroyed by gun violence, and mothers will no longer tolerate continued inaction by Congress on sensible gun laws.
It wasn’t money that defined the outcome of the 2012 presidential election, but the collective power of women and mothers. The same will be true for the upcoming 2014 midterm elections. As mothers, we organize, cajole and protect. We are organizing ourselves to effectively cajole Congress into passing sensible gun laws NOW to protect our families. The momentum is with us, and we are in this for the long haul at both the federal and state levels.
Like Mothers Against Drunk Driving helped change lax laws in the 1980s, One Million Moms for Gun Control will not rest until common-sense gun laws are put in place at both the national and state levels. We are the wave of change. In just one month alone, our organization has established 75 chapters across the United States. Our growing social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and the Internet combined with our ability to mobilize moms to act both virtually and in-person will help ensure our success.
Richard Burgess of Connecticut Carry, an organization "devoted to educating and protecting our rights in Connecticut" with a focus on Second Amendment rights and Connecticut state constitution statutes regarding firearm ownership, issued the following statement:
It sounds like President Obama has finally taken the first step in instructing his Federal employees to do their jobs as they should have been doing all along. That we had to wait for the Sandy Hook massacre for President Obama to feel compelled to instruct his employees to do their jobs is shameful. We are glad President Obama came around to accepting the NRA's recommendations of increasing armed security in schools (#18 & #12) and to increase firearms education nationwide (#7). We hope he works with the leader in both areas, the NRA, to implement these programs. We will be happy to assist here in Connecticut as needed through the work we have already been engaging in with regards to education and training.
Governor Dannel P. Malloy released the following statement:
“In the hours after the worst of our fears were confirmed, in the midst of the grief and sorrow over the loss of 20 innocent children and six dedicated educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School, there was one question on the minds of people across Connecticut and around the nation: How do we make sure this never happens again?
“Today the President took the critical first step toward answering that question. The common sense measures he proposed today are something that we should all be able to agree on, and I want to commend him and the Vice President for their work on this issue.
“I have no doubt that, state by state, we will deal with the issue of gun violence. Over the coming months, I will do everything in my power to make sure that Connecticut is a national leader in preventing gun violence. We will take steps to make sure that our gun laws are as tight as they are reasonable, that our mental health system is accessible to those that need it, and that our law enforcement personnel have all the tools they need to protect public safety, particularly in our schools.
“But we can’t go it alone. We need leadership at the federal level, and for the first time in a long time, we have it.
“We will not be able to stop gun violence completely, but we can make our country and our children safer. We owe it to them, and to all those lost in Sandy Hook, Aurora and every other city that has lost someone to gun violence, to try.”
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn) released the following statement:
These are strong recommendations, and Congress should act on them now—before another mass tragedy occurs. If assault weapons and high capacity magazines were not so readily available, I am convinced there would be more little boys and girls alive in Newtown today. If background checks were universal, our city streets would be safer. There are no longer any excuses for inaction. If the horror of Sandy Hook doesn't move Congress to act on common sense gun laws, I have no idea what will. I’m so appreciative of the leadership of President Obama and Vice President Biden on this issue, especially their willingness to involve the Sandy Hook parents and families in this effort. Now, it’s time to get to work.
Rep. Joe Courtney released the following statement:
President Obama acted on the promise he made 30 days ago at Newtown High School to make our kids safer. His orders will plug holes in the background check system and help local school districts have police security. The common-sense changes to the background check program will stop guns from getting into the hands of criminals and the mentally disturbed, while preserving Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.
“From the beginning, this necessary discussion has been marred by national NRA leadership’s attempts to divide the American people and prevent progress that even an overwhelming majority of gun owners and the NRA’s law-abiding membership believes is necessary. These reasonable proposals have been suggested to me in conversations with responsible gun owners in Connecticut since the Newtown tragedy.
President Obama set the ball in motion today. Now it is up to Congress to build on that solid start. We can do this.