With only a few months remaining in his last term, President Obama is doing everything he can to set up the next President to inherit a safer United States. Today, we got one step closer to that.
In an emotional speech made by Obama, he revealed he will issue an executive order to help stop the horrible gun violence that plagues the country. Citing many of the recent places of attack, such as Newtown, Aurora, Chapel Hill, and Charleston, he plans on cracking down on gun issues that Congress has blocked at every attempt. While there is bound to be an uproar from the Conservative parts of the country, Obama reminded everyone that he wasn't doing this to "earn points" for a campaign, but to make the United States a safer place.
Outlined during his speech, and on the White House website, the executive action includes better background checks,
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is making clear that it doesn’t matter where you conduct your business—from a store, at gun shows, or over the Internet: If you’re in the business of selling firearms, you must get a license and conduct background checks.
ATF is finalizing a rule to require background checks for people trying to buy some of the most dangerous weapons and other items through a trust, corporation, or other legal entity.
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch has sent a letter to States highlighting the importance of receiving complete criminal history records and criminal dispositions, information on persons disqualified because of a mental illness, and qualifying crimes of domestic violence.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is overhauling the background check system to make it more effective and efficient. The envisioned improvements include processing background checks 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and improving notification of local authorities when certain prohibited persons unlawfully attempt to buy a gun. The FBI will hire more than 230 additional examiners and other staff to help process these background checks.
Improving the safety of our communities,
The Attorney General convened a call with U.S. Attorneys around the country to direct federal prosecutors to continue to focus on smart and effective enforcement of our gun laws.
The President’s FY2017 budget will include funding for 200 new ATF agents and investigators to help enforce our gun laws.
ATF has established an Internet Investigation Center to track illegal online firearms trafficking and is dedicating $4 million and additional personnel to enhance the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network.
ATF is finalizing a rule to ensure that dealers who ship firearms notify law enforcement if their guns are lost or stolen in transit.
The Attorney General issued a memo encouraging every U.S. Attorney’s Office to renew domestic violence outreach efforts.
A better mental health treatment and background checking system,
The Administration is proposing a new $500 million investment to increase access to mental health care.
The Social Security Administration has indicated that it will begin the rulemaking process to include information in the background check system about beneficiaries who are prohibited from possessing a firearm for mental health reasons.
The Department of Health and Human Services is finalizing a rule to remove unnecessary legal barriers preventing States from reporting relevant information about people prohibited from possessing a gun for specific mental health reasons.
And lastly, bringing gun safety technology into the 21st century:
The President has directed the Departments of Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security to conduct or sponsor research into gun safety technology
The President has also directed the departments to review the availability of smart gun technology on a regular basis, and to explore potential ways to further its use and development to more broadly improve gun safety.
Obama dropped some amazing quotes, as usual. In regards to whether or not this is something a President can do, he reminded naysayers that "I taught Constitutional law. I know a bit about this." He also called out the usual suspects in the anti-gun control crowd, namely the National Rifle Association, saying "The gun lobby may be holding Congress hostage, but they cannot hold America hostage." At one point, the President shed a couple tears over the loss of children due to gun violence, something that all humans with even half of a heart can relate to.
The reaction on Twitter has of course been filled with both sides reacting strongly, using the official tag #StopGunViolence to express their opinions:
As a responsible, law abiding gun owner, I have NO ISSUE with thorough background checks & precautions for gun ownership. #StopGunViolence — Donald Drew (@TheDonDrew) January 5, 2016
Well said, Mr. President. #StopGunViolence pic.twitter.com/VTED9g2xyp — Esquire Magazine (@esquire) January 5, 2016
Incredible speech by @POTUS. Moved and proud. If you still disagree with that message, you've absolutely lost me. #StopGunViolence — Eric McCormack (@EricMcCormack) January 5, 2016
Thank you @POTUS for stepping up and taking action when Congress won’t. #StopGunViolence pic.twitter.com/v3M6pA6hLu — Julianne Moore (@_juliannemoore) January 5, 2016
And the flip side of the coin, those who live in the anti-gun control compound clearly aren't in a good mood anymore:
President Obama’s executive orders will do nothing to improve public safety. #2A #fact — NRA (@NRA) January 5, 2016
#StopGunViolence - It takes a special kind of stupid to think criminals follow any gun laws— Captain Chaos (@tonyr951) January 5, 2016
You can’t #StopGunViolence by early-releasing violent felons with gun convictions like Obama did in Nov. — Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) January 5, 2016
I'm sorry, but tougher background checks will NOT #StopGunViolence. Those who intend to do harm will always find a way.— Eric N. Ramirez (@eric_ramirez) January 5, 2016
Obama Releasing Nearly 6,600 Federal Inmates https://t.co/WBOa4WCulf #StopGunViolence pic.twitter.com/QMRJhursjz — The Patriot (@ThePatriot143) January 5, 2016
I stand with the NRA. #StopGunViolence— #MillennialsForTrump (@ClassySnobbb) January 5, 2016
#Obama During His Gun Control Speech: Isnnt This Picture The Most Phony Thing You Ever Saw in Your Life? #tcot pic.twitter.com/2x16kXoEWU — John Betts (@JohnFromCranber) January 5, 2016
Guns don't kill people, Obama...Abortions do. — Young Conservatives (@YoungCons) January 5, 2016
No matter the side of this issue that you stand on, I think we can all agree that putting a stop to seemingly endless violence is in all of our best interests. It's time to make it a safer place to live and raise our children in, so that they don't know what it's like to watch loved ones perish before their time from gun violence.
You can watch the speech in it's entirety below: