This morning, President Obama detailed what may be the biggest legislative push in years aimed at the reduction of gun violence. The plan was announced in light of recent shootings in public areas, particularly the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.
The White House released a document that details the 23 executive actions the president announced today in order to reduce gun violence. Being Executive Actions, these will take effect immediately since they do not require Congressional approval. The document is embedded in full below:
The following is a fact sheet that explains some of President Obama's proposal:
While many of the Executive Actions are written out somewhat vaguely ("Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations," for example), they touch on several areas at the heart of the issue. The proposal itself is broken down into four key sections: law enforcement, school safety, mental health and the availability of firearms and ammunition.
The elements of his proposal that will require Congressional approval will be a little slower in the making, but these are crucial steps. Closing the loopholes in background checks for gun purchasers at retailers or private sellers is a major point, as is the ban on military-style assault weapons and magazines with a higher capacity for ammunition. Improving school safety is also key to this proposal, as is improving police resources. One of the most-discussed tenets of the plan is the improvement of access to mental health services, which could indeed prevent many violent crimes by finding problems before they begin. The NRA lobbied for a freeze on gun research, which the President aims to lift as part of the proposal. This could be one of the most crucial elements, as it could find information that could inspire even further changes.
The President has made as many moves as he can that do not require Congressional approval, like ordering a study that tests the correlation between media and violence. These Executive Actions may be exactly what the country needs to curb gun violence, but the proposal has not been met with smiles all around. Many are in opposition of the plan for varied reasons, but only time will tell its success or failure.
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