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.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Police say man who crashed vehicle into pole died of gunshot wounds

    Canada News CTV News
    VAUGHAN, Ont. -- Police are investigating after a man found behind the wheel of a vehicle that crashed in Vaughan, Ont., died of gunshot wounds. York regional police say emergency crews were called to the intersection of Highway 7 and Interchange Way early Thursday. Source
  • A look at victims of the attack outside London's Parliament

    World News CTV News
    LONDON — Here's what's known about the victims of an attack in London where a man plowed a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing two people and injuring scores of others. He then stabbed a policeman to death on the grounds of Britain's Parliament before other officers fatally shot him. Source
  • Trump Jr. called a 'disgrace' for criticizing London mayor

    World News CTV News
    In this Jan. 20, 2017, file photo, Donald Trump, Jr., and Ivanka Trump arrive on Capitol Hill in Washington for the presidential Inauguration of their father, Donald Trump. (Saul Loeb via AP, Pool, File) Source
  • AP Exclusive: U.S. probes banking of ex-Trump campaign chief

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. Treasury Department agents have recently obtained information about offshore financial transactions involving President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, as part of a federal anti-corruption probe into his work in Eastern Europe, The Associated Press has learned. Source
  • Alberta mom's 'Rainbow Baskets' bring comfort to parents of children with Down syndrome

    Canada News CTV News
    An Alberta mother is offering a helping hand to parents of babies born with Down syndrome who may feel overwhelmed by the diagnosis. Krista Rowland-Collins sends baskets of gifts and baby supplies to families who give birth to children born with Down syndrome in the Calgary area. Source
  • Republican health bill on the brink hours before showdown vote

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON - The GOP's long-promised legislation to repeal and replace "Obamacare" stood on the brink just hours before Republican leaders planned to put it on the House floor for a showdown vote. Short of support, GOP leaders looked to U.S. Source
  • It never seems a good time for a tax-the-rich budget: Don Pittis

    Canada News CBC News
    Maybe it's never a good time for greater equality. When Finance Minister Bill Morneau and his team of public servants began putting the final touches on his budget a few weeks ago, things could hardly have looked better for the economy. Source
  • 'She was my only girl': Nunavut teen's death sheds light on failures in fighting TB

    Canada News CBC News
    Matthew Kilabuk walks into the Inns North hotel in Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut, and begins blowing on his hands to warm them up. It is -30 C outside, without wind chill. Kilabuk, a well-known local artist who's trying to sell some of his drawings, is wearing mitts but the sheepskin is tattered and thin. Source
  • Access to tax deduction for fertility treatments expanded in budget

    Canada News CBC News
    Many Canadians who have turned to assisted reproductive technologies over the past 10 years are now eligible for a tax deduction as a result of Finance Minister Bill Morneau's new budget. Getting medical help to conceive a child can cost thousands of dollars, a cost that isn't covered by most provincial health plans. Source
  • Supreme Court of Canada to rule on Dennis Oland's bail appeal

    Canada News CBC News
    The country's highest court will rule today on whether the New Brunswick Court of Appeal made a mistake by denying Dennis Oland bail while he was waiting to appeal his second-degree murder conviction. The Supreme Court of Canada is expected to release its decision at 10:45 a.m. Source