President Obama Announces New Effort to Reduce Gun Violence

Yesterday, President Obama unveiled a slate of executive actions aimed at reducing gun violence.

The President’s announcement came as the country marks the third anniversary of the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut that left 20 first-graders and six school staff members dead. Since the Newtown shooting, Congress failed to pass bipartisan legislation to improve background checks, and the number of children by guns has continued to rise. In fact, in 2015, gun violence surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of death for Americans under 25.

The President’s executive action seeks to:

  • Improve background checks of people seeking to purchase guns
    • Clarify which gun sellers are “in the business,” whether online, at gun shows, or in stores
    • Notify law enforcement when people unlawfully attempt to buy guns
    • Close the gun trust loophole that enables criminals to access machine guns and other high-powered firearms without a background check
    • Ask state governors to submit records to National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and increase the NICS staff
  • Reduce gun violence
    • Require gun dealers to report guns lost or stolen in transit
    • Direct additional resources to reducing gun violence (increase Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) funding and staff dedicated to reducing gun violence, direct US Attorneys to focus on prosecuting gun traffickers and gun criminals)
  • Improve mental health treatment
    • Remove legal barriers to reporting mental health records to NICS
    • Submit Social Security records for individuals with severe mental illness
    • Invest $500 million more into identifying and treating mental illness
  • Improve gun safety technology
    • Direct Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Defense (DOD), and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to promote smart gun technology

President Obama also acknowledged that there is a limit to what he will be able to accomplish through executive action, and renewed his call to Congress to pass common sense gun safety measures.

Every Child Matters believes support for the Second Amendment goes hand in hand with keeping guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them. We support the President’s efforts to reduce gun violence through executive actions like these that seek to address the problem while not infringing on the rights of lawful gun owners. We also know that much more work is needed to keep our kids safe.

Click here to thank President Obama for taking a stand to prevent gun violence.