President Barack Obama announced Wednesday a list of proposals to curb gun violence in the wake of mass shootings in Colorado and Connecticut. While acknowledging that the Constitution does protect certain rights, the country's citizens are still "responsible for each other," multiple outlets, including CNN reports.
1. "Issue a presidential memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system."
2. "Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system."
3. "Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system."
4. "Direct the attorney general to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks."
5. "Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun."
6. "Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers."
7. "Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign."
8. "Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission)."
9. "Issue a presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations."
10. "Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement."
11. "Nominate an ATF director."
12. "Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations."
13. "Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime."
14. "Issue a presidential memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence."
15. "Direct the attorney general to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies."
16. "Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes."
17. "Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities."
18. "Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers."
19. "Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education."
20. "Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover."
21. "Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges."
22. "Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations."
23. "Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health."
The National Rifle Association released this statement in response:
"Throughout its history, the National Rifle Association has led efforts to promote safety and responsible gun ownership. Keeping our children and society safe remains our top priority.
The NRA will continue to focus on keeping our children safe and securing our schools, fixing our broken mental health system, and prosecuting violent criminals to the fullest extent of the law. We look forward to working with Congress on a bi-partisan basis to find real solutions to protecting America’s most valuable asset – our children.
Attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation. Only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy."
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham also issued a statement:
“The recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School is heartbreaking and beyond words. However, the gun control plans brought forward by President Obama fail to address the real issues and I’m confident there will be bipartisan opposition to his proposal.
“One bullet in the hands of a homicidal maniac is one too many. But in the case of a young mother defending her children against a home invader -- a real-life event which recently occurred near Atlanta -- six bullets may not be enough. Criminals aren’t going to follow legislation limiting magazine capacity. However, a limit could put law-abiding citizens at a distinct disadvantage when confronting a criminal.
“As for reinstating the assault weapons ban, it has already been tried and failed.
“Finally, when it comes to protecting our schools, I believe the best way to confront a homicidal maniac who enters a school is for them to be met by armed resistance from a trained professional.”
South Carolina's senior Congressman Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-6) added the following:
“I applaud the President for his leadership on this issue, and I hope Congress will work with him in a bipartisan way to advance these proposals. This is about common sense. This should be about our children. This should be about mental health. This should be about whether or not it makes sense for individuals to be able to walk the streets with weapons that are made for war. This is also about whether or not we will have background checks to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of felons and the mentally ill. This should not be any kind of a question about constitutional rights. The First Amendment guarantees free speech, but it does not give one the right to yell fire in a crowded theater. What this ought to be about is a discussion of how we maintain Second Amendment rights while keeping people secure in their homes and our children safe in their classrooms. I look forward to working with the President and my colleagues in Congress on this vitally important issue.”
What do you think of the president's proposals? Are they too aggressive? Not enough? Tell us in the comments section