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

  • Filipino troops kill commander of group that kidnapped, beheaded Canadians

    World News CBC News
    The Philippine military chief says marines have killed an Abu Sayyaf extremist commander considered to be one of the most notorious kidnappers in the country's south.Robert Hall, Canadian hostage, killed by Abu Sayyaf militants in PhilippinesCBC IN MANILA | Few signs of Canadian investigation into Abu Sayyaf beheadings in PhilippinesMilitary chief Gen. Source
  • Filipino troops kill notorious Abu Sayyaf kidnapper in clash

    World News CTV News
    MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine military chief says marines have killed an Abu Sayyaf extremist commander considered to be one of the most notorious kidnappers in the country's south. Military chief Gen. Eduardo Ano tells The Associated Press that Alhabsy Misaya was slain in a clash with marines late Friday in the jungles between the towns of Indanan and Parang in Sulu province. Source
  • Donald Trump: North Korea 'disrespected' China with missile test [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump said Friday that North Korea had “disrespected” China by attempting to launch another ballistic missile. Trump has said he is counting on Chinese President Xi Jinping to encourage North Korea to give up its pursuit of ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs. Source
  • Some U.S. lawmakers want parents charged in genital cutting cases

    World News CTV News
    ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Lawmakers in Minnesota and Texas are pushing to crack down on parents involved with genital cutting after an indictment against a Detroit-area doctor accused of performing the procedure on two young Minnesota girls highlighted the little-known practice. Source
  • Three men sentenced for stealing $18 million worth of maple syrup in Quebec

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    MONTREAL - Three men convicted in connection with the theft of $18 million worth of maple syrup in Quebec were sentenced on Friday to between two and eight years. Superior Court Justice Raymond Pronovost sentenced Richard Vallieres to eight years in prison, confiscated $606,500 from him and fined him another $9.4 million. Source
  • Donald Trump to NRA: 'Eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end' [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    ATLANTA - President Donald Trump reaffirmed his support for gun rights Friday, telling attendees of a National Rifle Association convention that “the eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end.” Trump, the first sitting president to address the group’s annual convention in more than 30 years, assured the audience that he would defend their right to bear arms in a campaign-like speech reminiscent of his election rallies. Source
  • Friends hail slain 86-year-old Calif. woman as hero for allegedly defending friend

    World News CTV News
    NORTH HIGHLANDS, Calif. -- A young man was identified Friday as the suspect in the sexual assault and beating death of an 86-year-old California woman. She was remembered as a hero by investigators and neighbours after she used a walking stick to try to stop the alleged assailant from attacking her friend. Source
  • Conviction, 5-year sentence upheld for cop who faked crash reports

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- A veteran police officer who prepared bogus accident reports in exchange for cash lost his bid on Friday to overturn his conviction and five-year prison term. In upholding the guilty finding, the Court of Appeal for Ontario rejected arguments from Peel Regional Police Const. Source
  • Major earthquake hits south of Philippines, no injuries reported

    World News CTV News
    MANILA, Philippines - Philippine officials say a powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2 has struck off a southern province and prompted a local tsunami warning, but there are no immediate reports of damage or injuries. Source
  • Videos reportedly show gruesome abuse of young boy who was fed to pigs

    World News Toronto Sun
    KANSAS CITY, MO. - Videos and photos from a home in Kansas where a 7-year-old boy’s remains were found in a pigsty show the boy suffered horrific abuse in the months before he died, the child’s maternal grandmother said. Source