An emotional President Barack Obama uses his executive power to impose new restrictions on gun purchases, saying the second amendment right to own guns must be balanced with the rights of citizens to worship, go to movie theaters and attend school in safety.
WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (JANUARY 5, 2016)(NBC) – President Barack Obama on Tuesday (January 5) described new steps his administration will take to tighten gun rules and urged Americans to vote for candidates who do more to prevent gun violence, wiping back tears as he remembered children who died in a mass shooting.
As Obama delivered a powerful address in the White House, surrounded by family members of people killed in shootings, his voice rose to a yell as he said the constitutional rights of Americans to bear arms needed to be balanced by the right to worship, gather peacefully and live their lives.
“Second Amendment rights are important, but there are other rights that we care about as well.” he said. “And we have to be able to balance them, because our right to worship freely and safely — that right was denied to Christians in Charleston, South Carolina. And that was denied Jews in Kansas city, and that was denied Muslims in Chapel Hill and Sikhs in Oak Creek. They had rights too. Our right to peaceful assembly, that right was robbed from moviegoers in Aurora and Lafayette. Our inalienable right to life, and liberty and the pursuit of happiness, those rights were stripped from college kids in Blacksburg and Santa Barbara, and from high- schoolers in Columbine, and from first graders in Newtown. First graders. And from every family who never imagined that their loved one would be taken from our lives by a bullet from a gun.”
Obama has often said his toughest time in office was grappling with the December 2012 massacre of 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown.
“Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad,” Obama said, tears rolling down his cheek.”And by the way, it happens on the streets of Chicago every day. So, all of us need to demand that Congress be brave enough to stand up to the gun lobby’s lies. All of us need to stand up and protect its citizens.”
After the tragedy in Newtown, the Democratic president failed to persuade Congress to toughen U.S. gun laws. He has blamed lawmakers for being in the thrall of the powerful National Rifle Association gun lobby group.
He urged Americans to vote for members of congress who support changes in gun laws.
Obama laid out executive action he is taking to require more gun sellers to get licenses and more gun buyers to undergo background checks.
Under the changes, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) will issue guidelines intended to narrow exceptions to a system that requires sellers to check with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to determine whether buyers have criminal records, are charged with crimes or have mental health conditions that would bar them from owning a gun.
Any changes to gun rules in America are fraught with political risk. The U.S. Constitution’s 2nd Amendment gives Americans the right to have arms, a right that is fiercely defended.
Legal challenges to the changes are expected and Republican presidential candidates have promised to reverse his order if they win the White House.