Following a series mass shootings last year, President Barack Obama on Wednesday proposed comprehensive gun policy reform that included a series of executive actions.
The set of proposals is based on a month-long review by a task force spearheaded by Vice President Joe Biden. The proposals address giving addtional tools to law enforcement, school safety, mental health and the availability of dangerous firearms and ammunition.
Under the proposals the president is recommending:
- universal criminal background checks for private and retail gun sales;
- reinstating the ban on military assault weapons;
- a limit on ammunition magazines;
- more gun research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;
- helping schools develop emergency plans;
- adding more resource officers to schools;
- adding more police officers on the street;
- new gun trafficking laws and more.
The package will cost about $500 million, reported the Huffington Post.
Obama said in a Wednesday press conference that most Americans agree with universal background checks. He also said that more than 40 percent of gun purchases are done without background checks.
Part of his plan also includes appointing Todd Jones as director for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Jones has been the acting director since 2011. The ATF has gone six years without a permanent director, according to TMP Livewire.
Many of Obama’s recommendations require Congressional approval, which is why he signed 23 executive actions that don’t require approval and take effect immediately.
The executive actions call for federal agencies to be required to hand over relevant data for a background check system; provide law enforcement, first responders and school officials with better training for active shooting situations; gun violence and prevention research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that includes video game research; and more.
Biden’s task force is comprised of 31 elected officials who met with 229 organizations from gun advocacy groups, law enforcement, sporting groups, and many others.
Local gun control reactions
The Milwaukee area saw three high-profile shooting deaths since August, in Oak Creek, Brookfield and Wauwatosa. Adding the mass shootings in and Newtown, CT to the equation has heightened the national and local dialogue on gun ownership and control.
A December Patch poll — Have Recent Events Made it More Likely for You to Own a Gun? — had an almost 53-46 split among 112 votes and more than 500 comments from Patch users.
Here's what some people had to say about today's press conference on Facebook:
Rickety Jim Twenty-three executive orders were signed. Did anyone catch what they all were? Of course not.. he didn't mention the majority of their content.
Greg Huegerich I'd like to see more liability for purchasers of guns, whose guns are used in crimes. Want to avoid liability? Fund the background check for private sales. All part of a constitutional requirement for a *well regulated* militia.
Jeff Alan-Pokey I think it sucks!! How is a ban on high capacity mags or AR15 going to stop nut heads from doing what they want. Lets put armed guards in all the schools and stop wasting time making laws that will make no difference to a criminal. However I do like the idea of background checks at gun shows.
E Jason Godersky 100% of all street gangs and mobster style thugs will not run background checks.
A number of Patch Local Voices bloggers have expressed their own thoughts on gun control. Below is a look into some of our more popular Local Voices posts:
- Lyle Ruble: America’s Gun Obsession
- Brian Dey: Gun Control: Why it Wouldn’t Have Prevented the Newtown Killings
- Jason Patzfahl: NRA — Not Responsible Americans
- Brian Dey: Anti Gun Nuts on False Witch Hunt
- Brian Carlson: Is Manhood Itself on the Line in the Gun-Regulation Debate?