Vacation over, Obama considering action to reduce gun violence

WASHINGTON -- Back at the White House after a two-week Hawaiian vacation, U.S. President Barack Obama says he is energized for his final year in office and ready to tackle unfinished business, turning immediate attention to the issue of gun violence.

See Full Article

Obama scheduled a meeting Monday with Attorney General Loretta Lynch to discuss a three-month review of what steps he could take to help reduce gun violence. The president is expected to use executive action to strengthen background checks required for gun purchases.

Republicans strongly oppose any moves Obama may make, and legal fights seem likely over what critics would view as infringing on their constitutional rights to bear arms. But Obama is committed to an aggressive agenda in 2016 even as public attention shifts to the presidential election.

Obama spent much of his winter vacation out of the public eye, playing golf with friends and dining out on the Hawaiian island of Oahu with his family. He returned to the White House about noon Sunday.

"I am fired up for the year that stretches out before us. That's because of what we've accomplished together over the past seven," Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address.

While in Hawaii, he also worked on his final State of the Union address, scheduled for Jan. 12. The prime-time speech to Congress will give the president another chance to try to reassure the public about his national security stewardship after the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California.

Congressional Republicans have outlined a competing agenda for January, saying they will spend the first days of 2016 taking another crack at eliminating keys parts of the president's health insurance law and ending federal funding for women's health care provider Planned Parenthood. The legislation is unlikely to become law, but it is popular with the Republican base in an election year.

The debate about what Obama may do on gun violence already has spilled over into the presidential campaign.

Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has called for more aggressive executive actions on guns, and rival Bernie Sanders said he would support Obama's expected move.

The Vermont senator told ABC's "This Week" that he believes "there is a wide consensus" that "we should expand and strengthen the instant background check." He added: "I think that's what the president is trying to do and I think that will be the right thing to do."

Republican candidates largely oppose efforts to expand background checks or take other steps that curb access to guns.

"This president wants to act as if he is a king, as if he is a dictator," unable to persuade Congress and forcing an "illegal executive action" on the country, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told "Fox News Sunday."

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, also on Fox, said Obama's "first impulse is always to take rights away from law-abiding citizens, and it's wrong."

In the radio address, Obama said tens of thousands of people have died from gun violence since background check legislation stalled three years ago.

"Each time, we're told that commonsense reforms like background checks might not have stopped the last massacre, or the one before that, so we shouldn't do anything," Obama said. "We know that we can't stop every act of violence. But what if we tried to stop even one?"

Federally licensed gun sellers are required by law to seek criminal background checks before completing a sale. But gun control advocacy groups say some of the people who sell firearms at gun shows are not federally licensed, increasing the chance of sales to customers prohibited by law from purchasing guns.

Obama plans to participate in a town hall Thursday night at George Mason University in Virginia on reducing gun violence. The president will take questions from the audience at the event moderated by CNN's Anderson Cooper.

Despite his deep differences with Republicans, Obama has cited two agenda items for 2016 that have bipartisan support: a free trade agreement with 11 other nations called the Trans-Pacific Partnership and changes in the criminal justice system that would reduce incarceration rates for nonviolent offenders. He often points out that the U.S. accounts for 5 per cent of the world's population and 25 per cent of its inmates.


Latest Canada & World News

  • In Africa, Trump's firing of Tillerson a new sign of neglect

    World News CTV News
    KAMPALA, Uganda -- Ask some Africans what they think of U.S. President Donald Trump and they just shake their heads. That sense of indifference appears to have deepened after Trump fired his secretary of state at the end of Rex Tillerson's first Africa tour last week. Source
  • Bodies of 2 French skiers found after Swiss Alps avalanche

    World News CTV News
    BERLIN -- Swiss authorities say they've recovered the bodies of two French skiers killed in an avalanche in the Swiss Alps but two other skiers remain missing. Police from the Valais canton, or state, said the bodies of the two skiers, aged 20 and 25, were found buried under six metres of snow in in the Vallon d'Arbi area of southwestern Switzerland near the borders with France and Italy. Source
  • Turkey says its forces now control Syrian town of Afrin

    World News CBC News
    Turkey's president said Sunday that allied Syrian forces have taken "total" control of the town center of Afrin, the target of a nearly two-month-old Turkish offensive against a Syrian Kurdish militia, which said fighting was still underway. Source
  • Four Chinese pandas to be moved to Calgary after 5 years in Toronto

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Today is the last chance to see the giant pandas at the Toronto Zoo before the bears head west to Calgary. Two of the pandas -- Da Mao and Er Shun -- arrived at the zoo on loan from China in 2013 as part of a global giant panda conservation breeding program, Source
  • Britain, Russia trade blame over poisoning of former spy

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- Britain's foreign secretary said Sunday that the trail of blame for the poisoning of a former spy "leads inexorably to the Kremlin," after a Russian envoy suggested the nerve agent involved could have come from a U.K. Source
  • Amid spy row, U.K. accuses Russia of stockpiling a nerve agent

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- Britain's foreign minister said Sunday that he has evidence Russia has been stockpiling a nerve agent in violation of international law, after a Russian envoy suggested the toxin used to poison a former spy in England could have come from a U.K. Source
  • Russia votes to hand Vladimir Putin 4th presidential term

    World News CTV News
    YEKATERINBURG, Russia -- Vladimir Putin's victory in Russia's presidential election Sunday isn't in doubt. The only real question is whether voters will turn out in big enough numbers to hand him a convincing mandate for his fourth term -- and many Russians are facing intense pressure to do so. Source
  • 6 confirmed killed in Florida pedestrian bridge collapse

    World News CBC News
    Authorities now say six people were killed when a pedestrian bridge fell onto a busy six-lane road on the Miami-area campus of Florida International University. Crews removed two cars Saturday morning and said they found three bodies, but officials said there were still at least two more victims beneath the rubble. Source
  • Reconciliation amid racism: Is it possible on the Prairies?

    Canada News CBC News
    Max FineDay felt an unspeakable rage and an overwhelming sorrow when Gerald Stanley walked free from the courthouse in Battleford, Sask., earlier this year. Stanley fatally shot 22-year-old Colten Boushie in August 2016 on his farm in the Biggar, Sask. Source
  • Manila hotel fire leaves at least 3 dead, 2 trapped

    World News CBC News
    A fire that hit a hotel and casino complex in the Philippine capital on Sunday killed least three employees, trapped two others and forced the evacuation of more than 300 guests, some by helicopter, officials said. Source