Obama introduces measures to tighten gun control

WASHINGTON -- A visibly emotional President Barack Obama, at one point wiping tears from his cheek, unveiled his plan Tuesday to tighten control and enforcement of firearms in the U.S.

See Full Article

, using his presidential powers in the absence of legal changes he implored Congress to pass.

Obama accused the gun lobby of taking Congress hostage, but said "they cannot hold America hostage." He insisted it was possible to uphold the Second Amendment while doing something to tackle the frequency of mass shootings in the U.S. that he said had become "the new normal."

"This is not a plot to take away everybody's guns," Obama said in a ceremony in the East Room. "You pass a background check, you purchase a firearm. The problem is some gun sellers have been operating under a different set of rules."

Obama wiped tears away as he recalled the 20 first-graders killed in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School. He paid tribute to the parents, some of whom gathered for the ceremony, who he said had never imagined their child's life would be cut short by a bullet.

"Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad," Obama said.

At the centerpiece of Obama's plan is a more sweeping definition of gun dealers that the administration hopes will expand the number of sales subject to background checks. Under current law, only federally licensed gun dealers must conduct background checks on buyers. But at gun shows, websites and flea markets, sellers often skirt that requirement by declining to register as licensed dealers.

Aiming to narrow that loophole, the Justice Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is issuing updated guidance that says the government should deem anyone "in the business" of selling guns to be a dealer, regardless of where he or she sells the guns. To that end, the government will consider other factors, including how many guns a person sells, how frequently, and whether those guns are sold for a profit.

The White House also put sellers on notice that the administration planned to strengthen enforcement -- including deploying 230 new examiners the FBI will hire to process background checks.

The impact of Obama's plan on gun violence remains a major question, and one not easily answered. Had the rules been in place in the past, the steps wouldn't likely have prevented any of the recent mass shootings that have garnered national attention. The Obama administration acknowledged it couldn't quantify how many gun sales would be newly subjected to background checks, nor how many currently unregistered gun sellers would have to obtain a license.

Pushing back on that critique, Obama said every time the issue is debated, gun rights groups argue the steps wouldn't necessarily have stopped the last massacre, "so why bother trying?"

"I reject that thinking," Obama said, arguing it would be worth it if the measures would prevent even a single gun death. "We maybe can't save everybody, but we could save some."

To lend a personal face to the issue, the White House assembled a cross-section of Americans whose lives were altered by the nation's most searing recent gun tragedies, including former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and relatives of victims from Charleston, S.C., at Virginia Tech. Mark Barden, whose son was shot to death at Sandy Hook Elementary School, introduced the president with a declaration that "we are better than this."

Invoking the words of Martin Luther King Jr., Obama said, "We need to feel the fierce urgency of now."

Obama's package of executive actions aims to curb what he's described as a scourge of gun violence in the U.S., punctuated by appalling mass shootings in Newtown, Connecticut; Charleston, South Carolina; and Tucson, Arizona, among many others. After Newtown, Obama sought far-reaching, bipartisan legislation that went beyond background checks.

When the effort collapsed in the Senate, the White House said it was thoroughly researching the president's powers to identify every legal step he could take on his own. But a more recent spate of gun-related atrocities, including in San Bernardino, California, shootings have spurred the administration to give the issue another look, as Obama seeks to make good on a policy issue that he's elevated time and again but has failed until now to advance.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • India blocks social media in Kashmir in wake of abuse videos

    World News CTV News
    SRINAGAR, India - India has ordered internet service providers in Indian-controlled Kashmir to block Facebook, Twitter and 20 other social media sites and online applications for one month, after several videos and photos depicting alleged abuses of Kashmiris by Indian security forces sparked outrage and fuelled protests. Source
  • Trump tells Canada, Mexico he won’t terminate NAFTA

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — The White House is telling U.S. media that it’s weighing a plan to pull out of NAFTA, upping the pressure on Congress to get cracking on negotiations under the threat of having the seminal trade deal obliterated. Source
  • Housing, economy, leadership feature in final B.C. election debate

    Canada News CTV News
    VICTORIA -- British Columbia Premier Christy Clark is defending the time it took her government to cool Vancouver's scorching housing market, telling voters watching a TV debate the Liberals wanted to make sure they didn't wipe out the equity people have built in their homes by acting rashly. Source
  • Hollywood producer testifies in Robert Durst murder case

    World News CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- A Hollywood producer testified Wednesday that a friend claimed to have impersonated the first wife of real estate heir Robert Durst in a telephone call that prosecutors say took place after the wife was dead. Source
  • Doctors in Detroit-area genital mutilation case indicted

    World News Toronto Sun
    DETROIT — A grand jury indicted two doctors and a third person on Wednesday in an alleged scheme to perform genital mutilation on two girls from Minnesota at a Detroit-area clinic. Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, Dr. Fakhruddin Attar and Attar’s wife, Farida, are charged with female genital mutilation, conspiracy and other crimes. Source
  • Trekker missing in Nepal for 47 days saved, girlfriend dies 3 days before rescue

    World News CTV News
    KATHMANDU, Nepal -- A Taiwanese man who was missing on a mountain in Nepal for 47 days was rescued Wednesday, but his girlfriend died just three days before they were discovered, trekking officials said. Asian Trekking agency official Madhav Basnet said 21-year-old Liang Sheng Yueh was found Wednesday on a ledge under a waterfall and was flown by helicopter to a hospital in the capital, Kathmandu. Source
  • Canadian soldier killed in vehicle rollover remembered for 'big heart'

    Canada News CTV News
    A field memorial was held Wednesday morning for a Canadian solider killed when a light-armoured vehicle rolled over during a training exercise on an Alberta base. Sgt. Robert J. Dynerowicz died Tuesday after the accident at Canadian Forces Base Wainwright. Source
  • Conservative candidates battle it out after O'Leary quits

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA — The Conservative leadership race now enters the final weeks with penultimate debate showcasing the task at hand for the majority of candidates: take down clear front-runner Maxime Bernier. Wednesday night’s final party debate in Toronto was supposed to be a big political spectacle in its own right, with the May 27 climax looming on the calendar. Source
  • Minnesota man gets 15 years for shooting 5 Black Lives Matter protesters

    World News CTV News
    MINNEAPOLIS -- A white Minnesota man who was sentenced to more than 15 years in prison Wednesday for shooting and wounding five black protesters said he'll live with the consequences of his actions for the rest of his life, but stopped short of apologizing. Source
  • Fresno shooter who targeted whites charged with 3 counts of murder

    World News CTV News
    FRESNO, Calif. -- The black suspect in a racially motivated shooting rampage in Fresno was charged Wednesday with three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of white men he targeted randomly on the street, prosecutors said. Source