President Barack Obama and Vice President unveiled expansive new proposals to curtail gun violence Wednesday, setting off what is sure to be a protracted battle with Congress and the powerful gun control lobby.The agenda is the most ambitious national gun control push in decades.
It includes 23 executive actions that the White House will take unilaterally to curb gun violence, including restarting federal research on gun violence and improving federal background checks. Obama also called on Congress to pass an extensive package of legislative proposals, including universal background checks to pass a new ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
The White House agenda — the result of recommendations from a month-long task force led by Biden — . But Obama acknowledged that his proposals will face a major uphill battle on Capitol Hill, with the Republican-led House of Representatives unlikely to consider any serious measures to limit gun ownership.
“There will be pundits, politicians and special interest lobbyists warning of a tyrannical, all-out assault on liberty,” Obama said. “The only way we can change is if the American people demand it.”
“The most important changes we can make depend on Congressional action,” he said. “They need to bring these proposals up for a vote.”
“This is the land of the free and always will be. But with freedom comes responsibility,” Obama added. “We don’t live in isolation. We live in a society…we are responsible for each other.”
Obama and Biden made the announcement at the White House, accompanied by four children who wrote letters to the President in the wake of last month’s elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
Biden started off the press conference with a nod to the victims of that shooting.
“We all now have a moral obligation to diminish the prospect that something like this can happen again,” Biden said. “The world has changed and it is demanding action.”
“We should do as much as we can, as quickly as we can,” he added. “And we cannot make the perfect the enemy of the good.”
UPDATE, 12:40 p.m.:
Michael Steel, a spokesperson Republican House Speaker John Boehner emails this response to Obama’s proposals:
“House committees of jurisdiction will review these recommendations. And if the Senate passes a bill, we will also take a look at that.”
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