Obama: ‘This will not happen, unless the American people demand it.’

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Vice President Joe Biden discussed the recommendations of his gun violence task force, and President Obama today announced executive orders and legsislative proposals that he will pursue through Congress. Transcript: Biden, Obama remarks (excerpt):

OBAMA: I’m putting forward a specific set of proposals based on the work of
Joe’s task force. And in the days ahead I intend to use whatever weight
this office holds to make them a reality.

Because while there is
no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence
completely, no piece of legislation that will prevent every tragedy,
every act of evil, if there’s even one thing we can do to reduce this
violence, if there’s even one life that can be saved, then we’ve got an
obligation to try.

And I’m gonna do my part. As soon as I’m
finished speaking here I will sit at that desk and I will sign a
directive giving law enforcement, schools, mental health professionals
and the public health community some of the tools they need to help
reduce gun violence.

We will make it easier to keep guns out of
the hands of criminals by strengthening the background check system. We
will help schools hire more resource officers if they want them, and
develop emergency preparedness plans. We will make sure mental health
professionals know their options for reporting threats of violence, even
as we acknowledge that someone with a mental illness is far more likely
to be a victim of violent crime than the perpetrator.

And while
year after year, those who oppose even modest gun safety measures have
threatened to de-fund scientific or medical research into the causes of
gun violence, I will direct the Centers for Disease Control to go ahead
and study the best ways to reduce it. And Congress should fund research
into the effects that violent video games have on young minds.

We don’t benefit from ignorance. We don’t benefit from not knowing the science of this epidemic of violence.

These
are a few of the 23 executive actions that I’m announcing today, but as
important as these steps are, they are in no way a substitute for
action from members of Congress. To make a real and lasting difference,
Congress, too, must act, and Congress must act soon. And I’m calling on
Congress to pass some very specific proposals right away.

First, it’s time for Congress to require a universal background check for anyone trying to buy a gun.

The law already requires licensed gun dealers to run background checks,
and over the last 14 years that’s kept 1.5 million of the wrong people
from getting their hands on a gun.

But it’s hard to enforce that law, when as many as 40 percent of all
gun purchases are conducted without a background check. That’s not safe.
That’s not smart. That’s not fair to responsible gun buyers or sellers.

If you want to buy a gun, whether it’s from a licensed dealer,
or a private seller, you should at least have to show you are not a
felon or somebody legally prohibited from buying one. This is common
sense. And an overwhelming majority of Americans agree with us on the
need for universal background checks, including more than 70 percent of
the National Rifle Association’s members according to one survey. So
there’s no reason we can’t do this.

Second, Congress should restore a ban on military-style assault weapons, and a 10 round limit for magazines.

* * *

Weapons designed for the theater of war have no place in a movie
theater. A majority of Americans agree with us on this. And, by the way,
so did Ronald Reagan, one of the staunchest defenders of the Second
Amendment, who wrote to Congress in 1994, urging them — this is Ronald
Reagan speaking — urging them to listen to the American public and to
the law enforcement community and support a ban on the further
manufacture of military-style assault weapons.

And, finally, Congress needs to help, rather than hinder, law
enforcement as it does its job. We should get tougher on people who buy
guns with the expressed purpose of turning around and selling them to
criminals. And we should severely punish anybody who helps them do this.

Since
Congress hasn’t confirmed a director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco
and Firearms in six years, they should confirm Todd Jones, who will be
— who has been acting and I will be nominating for the post.

And at a time when budget cuts are forcing many communities to reduce
their police force, we should put more cops back on the job and back on
our streets.

* * *

They’re commonsense measures. They have the support of the majority of the American people.

And
yet that doesn’t mean any of this is going to be easy to enact or
implement. If it were, we’d already have universal background checks.
The ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines never would have
been allowed to expire. More of our fellow Americans might still be
alive, celebrating birthdays and anniversaries and graduations.

* * *

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.

I will put everything I’ve got into this — and so will Joe — but I
tell you, the only way we can change is if the American people demand
it. And by the way, that doesn’t just mean from certain parts of the
country. We’re going to need voices in those areas and those
congressional districts where the tradition of gun ownership is strong
to speak up and to say this is important. It can’t just be the usual
suspects. We have to examine ourselves in our hearts, and ask yourselves
what is important? This will not happen, unless the American people
demand it. If parents and teachers, police officers, and pastors, if
hunters and sportsman, if responsible gun owners, if Americans of every
background stand up and say, enough. We’ve suffered too much pain, and
care too much about our children to allow this to continue, then change
will — change will come.

That’s what it’s going to take.

Related documents:

Executive Actions (.pdf)

Gun Violence Executive Summary (.pdf)

Gun Violence Fact Sheet (.pdf)

The White House plan entitled, "Now Is the Time: The President’s Plan
to Protect our Children and our Communities by Reducing Gun Violence,"
is here
Now is The Time (.pdf)

 UPDATE: Here is the video:

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