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Obama unveils $500 million gun violence package

By Erica Werner and Julie Pace

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 07:33 a.m. HST, Jan 16, 2013

WASHINGTON » Without waiting for Congress, President Barack Obama today announced a sweeping $500 million program to curb gun violence, setting up a fight over universal background checks and bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, in the wake of the Connecticut school shooting.

Obama also used his presidential powers to issue 23 orders that don't require congressional approval. The largely incremental executive steps include requiring federal agencies to make more data available for background checks, appointing a fulltime director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and directing the Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence.

But the president, speaking at the White House, acknowledged the most effective actions must be taken by lawmakers.

"To make a real and lasting difference, Congress must act," Obama said. "And Congress must act soon."

Obama was flanked by children who wrote him letters about gun violence in the weeks following the Newtown shooting. Families of the 20 children killed in the massacre, as well as survivors, were also in the audience along with law enforcement officers and members of Congress.

"This is our first task as a society, keeping our children safe," Obama said. "This is how we will be judged."

The president based his proposals on recommendations from an administration-wide task force led by Vice President Joe Biden.

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Charliegrunt wrote:
Everything he does requires a larger bureaucracy and a lot more money. What part of "the country is broke and in debt" does he not understand? The only way he and Congress will understand is if we cut their salaries and benefits also. While he puts our social security and veterans payments on the "chopping block", he wants Secret Service Protection for himself and his wife for life.
on January 16,2013 | 06:51AM
Mediocrates wrote:
It's called governing genius. To do anything requires money - quit crying about reality.
on January 16,2013 | 07:00AM
Charliegrunt wrote:
There's reality that requires thought and problem solving, and there's reality that consists of building bureaucracies and throwing money at problems while solving nothing. Take a little time and go back and read Thomas Jefferson or have someone read it to you.
on January 16,2013 | 07:05AM
EightOEight wrote:
"There's reality that requires thought and problem solving" - which is why VP Biden met with various groups including the NRA for their input. "There's reality that consists of building bureaucracies and throwing money at problems" - Of course there will be a degree of 'bureaucracy' and 'throwing money'. It's a national program that needs to be implemented and maintained. "while solving nothing" - I suppose your solution is to do nothing. Recent polls show that most Americans disagree with you and support President Obama's efforts. As for Jefferson, http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/11/opinion/jefferson-fake-gun-quotation/index.html
on January 16,2013 | 08:12AM
Carang_da_buggahz wrote:
Do you really, REALLY think Obama and Biden care what the NRA has to say? This is nothing but shameless political grandstanding to earn political points from the clueless masses. Anyone who thinks this is going to "fix" the problem is hopelessly naive. This kind of ignorance is what allows this would-be King to thrive while trampling over our constitutional rights. With edict he issues, he grows ever bolder. He and his legions of fawning and star-struck fans won't be happy until they are dictating our every move and silencing dissent. You heard it here first. You people had better think for yourselves while it's still legal.
on January 16,2013 | 09:51AM
EightOEight wrote:
"NEW POLL OF NRA MEMBERS BY (Republican pollster) FRANK LUNTZ SHOWS STRONG SUPPORT FOR COMMON-SENSE GUN LAWS, EXPOSING SIGNIFICANT DIVIDE BETWEEN RANK-AND-FILE MEMBERS AND NRA LEADERSHIP" http://www.mayorsagainstillegalguns.org/html/media-center/pr006-12.shtml And this was before the Aurora CO and Sandy Hook shootings. Stop being a paranoid tool of the NRA leadership.
on January 16,2013 | 11:01AM
Upperkula wrote:
Cut off his Hawaii vacatioins wich cost tax payers 7.2 million hard earned dollrs
on January 16,2013 | 07:04AM
Matsu wrote:
Something just struck me-- The Liberals scream bloody murder when laws are suggested to require a photo ID to vote. Of course they claim this is "Racist". So how do these same liberal screamers reconcile with Obama’s measures that demand full background checks for gun purchases. Under the Liberal definition, how is that not “Racist”? Won’t these measures have more a negative effect on blacks and hispanics?
on January 16,2013 | 11:19AM
allie wrote:
This proposal seems reasonable
on January 16,2013 | 07:03AM
serious wrote:
It was a great photo op. Okay, I give my gun to my son--background check? In Conn, the shooter took the gun from his mother. As the Pres said there have been 900 people shot dead since the school disaster. Take Chicago, Detroit and DC which are majority blacks and the numbers are lower. It's not guns--it's who's using them. But I agree with the NRA---the standards for protection should be the same as the Presidents kids. And, heck yes, violent videos should be trashed!!!
on January 16,2013 | 08:15AM
TigerEye wrote:
"...which are majority blacks..." just like every single one of the attention-starved spree killers upon which the nation has focused its collective panic. Right?
on January 16,2013 | 10:29AM
Allenk wrote:
Violent videos? Hollywood has been making war movies since the silent era. Can you quantify which films are directly related to violent behavior? Is there a specific study?
on January 16,2013 | 10:51AM
hawaiikone wrote:
Are you serious?
on January 16,2013 | 12:59PM
paradiddle wrote:
Other than having an armed officer/presense at the school, nothing in these EOs that costs $500 million (that we do not have), would have prevented the Newtown disaster. Looks like just more government red tape and regulations to me. BTW, wasn't it the NRAs response/recommendation to have armed officers/presense at schools????
on January 16,2013 | 11:08AM
JohnClark wrote:
This president is just a few steps away from becoming a great president. He uses his powers wisely, and knows the ropes and the traps set for him, and acts according to his vision for America. Eventually the people will see this too, and hopefully not before it is too late. The enemy lies within, and he must keep up his guard at all times.
on January 16,2013 | 07:13AM
saveparadise wrote:
Or is he the antichrist? Yes the enemy may lie within but who is the good, the bad, or the ugly? Depends on who you are and where you stand doesn't it?
on January 16,2013 | 08:01AM
JohnClark wrote:
Well who are you, the Second Coming? We don't all live in a polarised Clint Eastwood world. Perhaps you do, it certainly saves having to think.
on January 16,2013 | 08:19AM
Carang_da_buggahz wrote:
Well don't you take the cake! Accusing Eastwood of polarizing? HA! The very one who promised to heal the divisions of this country is the Original polarizer who has used his Divide and Conquer class-warfare to demonize the "haves" of this country to stoke the flames of an "Us versus Them" mentality. YOU are the very last one who should accuse others of saving themselves from thinking. If you quit drinking the Kool-Aid maybe you'll have a real thought of your own. But I doubt it. Now, run along. I think your latest Michael Moore tweet has arrived.
on January 16,2013 | 10:01AM
hawaiikone wrote:
well put.
on January 16,2013 | 01:01PM
scooters wrote:
He is the "enemy" and we can see that clearly. He's a socialist bent on destroying the good order and discipline of the United States. We need to keep up the fight against his plan to bury us. Can we survie 4 more years of this fool? God Help Us!
on January 16,2013 | 08:19AM
sluggah wrote:
He is miles away from being even a decent president. He is trying to polarize the country more than I can believe possible. By essentially spiking the ball time after time after his win in November, he is essentially trying to marginalize every person who voted against him. What the dems are saying is that they don't count.
on January 16,2013 | 08:38AM
Pacej001 wrote:
The most trivial, polarizing president in our history. The man just can't take a step with out ginning up some evil straw man opponent to every brilliant, immaculate thought he has. Vilify the rich, vilify gun owners, vilify opponents of any kind to his agenda, the mark of a weak, shallow man.
on January 16,2013 | 09:00AM
Pacej001 wrote:
Just about the most inane comment ever posted. This worshipful attitude toward President empty suit is numbing. What did he just accomplish? Nothing. His initiatives would not have prevented the Newtown shooting, have nothing to do with root causes, ignore the impact of the entertainment and gaming industries, and worse still he demands that Congress take strong action, yet RECOMMENDS NOTHING. This is a profile in courage, national leadership? Don't make me laugh.
on January 16,2013 | 08:57AM
Carang_da_buggahz wrote:
John, you sound just like Nancy Pelosi who, in the midst of the Healthcare bill debate, told us that "you'll just have to pass it to see what's in it." How outrageous! I and millions of other thinking Americans do NOT trust this administration to act in OUR best interests. You, sir, are nothing but a Lemming and a FOOL. You did get one thing right, though. That he "acts according to his vision for America" would be fine if this were still Colonial America. You must have slept through American History.
on January 16,2013 | 09:55AM
lee1957 wrote:
The chasm between BHO and greatness is too wide and deep to be crossed in four years.
on January 16,2013 | 10:32AM
808Cindy wrote:
I agree and like the Presidents proposals.
on January 16,2013 | 07:52AM
LanaUlulani wrote:

Obama needs to start with HIMSELF and curb his use of DRONES which he used which murdered many innocent children including 176 innocent children in Pakistan.

on January 16,2013 | 08:02AM
scooters wrote:
Maybe what we should do is turn those "Terrorist Supporting Counties" into parking lot's and let them start over with the instructions that they need to be a compatible country with the rest of the world. For use of a better word, Drones are GOOD!
on January 16,2013 | 08:23AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Half a billion dollars for something that will not reduce the existing 270,000,000 guns in private hands right now. Good thing we have so much money, eh? I mean, it's not like he said he would take a $500M cut from defense budget and spend it on this domestic policy - that might make sense.

The problem is not future gun sales. The problem is we have - right now - 90 guns for every 100 citizens and unless confiscation is planned, the access to weapons will still be easy peasy, especially for the bad guys. It's a case of spending money on studies and distractions that will not achieve the desired results.

A friend of mine gripes about traffic and says that's why he is pro-rail. I say, "rail won't reduce traffic." He says that he knows that but something has to be done about traffic so he is pro-rail. This is the same with these gun control programs. They "do something" but they won't solve the problem. Feel good kabuki and this will be hugely divisive which as a nation, we don't need.

on January 16,2013 | 08:06AM
Pacej001 wrote:
Feel good Kabuki is a plank in the liberal/progressive platform. Mr. Obama and his supporters from the Fernando Llamas school of governing. Llamas was famous for immortalizing the line, "It's not how you feel. It's how you look." That sums up the totality of Obama's political foundation.
on January 16,2013 | 09:03AM
Allenk wrote:
Or as Billy Crystal used to say, "it is better to look good, than to feel good;" in his parody of the late Fernando Llamas on Saturday Night Live.
on January 16,2013 | 11:01AM
anotherlocal wrote:
So, are you saying you are for abolishing of our 2nd amendment right? Please read and understand why the 2nd amendment was include in our Constitution. The true reason was to assure that each citizen has the power to oppose the government should the government start governing against citizens. Just the fact that laws are being made and have been made that infringe on everyone's 2nd amendment rights, are already wrong. When each of us became citizens, we pledged to uphold and defend our Constitution. Are you doing that by suggesting guns be confiscated? It would have been much better to concentrate on the true cause of the problem. The bad people behind the gun. The criminals and mentally disturbed people are causing all the deaths. Work on trying to diminish this element would serve the public much more. It would also be more "bottom line" successful than trying to make more gun laws.
on January 16,2013 | 12:32PM
hawaiikone wrote:
Absolutely correct. But consider the challenge of serious introspection. Our society has undergone a gradual decay in moral values, which has prompted a new generation ready and eager to cast off the hypocritical lives the previous generation has led. Entertainment constantly reaches new levels of perverseness and violence, driven by an demanding public. A mindset has been implanted that social parameters are non existent and excesses are celebrated. Amidst this collapse of decency we're supposed to wonder why we see tragedies happen? Why we see our youth killing each other and themselves? Why mentally unstable individuals are allowed unsupervised freedom? There is indeed an enemy inside our nation, and he is us...
on January 16,2013 | 03:34PM
Ronin006 wrote:
The several mass killings in recent years were not caused by guns or by run-of-the-mill criminals. They were caused by people with severe mental problems. That is where the focus needs to be to prevent such tragedies.
on January 16,2013 | 08:15AM
serious wrote:
Chicago had, what, 500 murders last year? Detroit is not far behind, DC--as the Mayor said, "Except for the murders we're a pretty safe city". To keep a criminal in jail or a mental health person in a hospital--if we think that we don't have enough workers to support the Ponzi SS system going--we can't afford all that. Solution? I don't know!! Must be Bush!!!
on January 16,2013 | 09:30AM
Kaluu wrote:
It's a start. Question: If we eliminiated firearms completely, would it prevent mass killings? Or would the sickos' weapon of choice shift to something else, such as that biggie in the Middle East? Seriously. I wish I knew. I do know that we must put choke chains on "people" who've demonstrated a chronic compulsion to extreme violence.
on January 16,2013 | 08:22AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
I would have liked a whole lot more than $500 million spent on bolstering mental health services and finding ways to keep the crazies from taking innocent lives. But I would like to see the money taken from the bloated defense budget and applied to this critical issue. Spending several billion ( culled from other programs) on mental health services would be really good for the country. The kabuki of these executive actions is relatively impotent. Much of what the prattle has been requires Congressional approval and guess what....that ain't gonna happen.
on January 16,2013 | 08:33AM
Kaluu wrote:
I just started reading an interesting book in my effort to better understand the problem. Ordered a used copy online. "The Mad Among Us." I, too, think the core problem is lack of adequate response to mental health issue.
on January 16,2013 | 08:46AM
Allenk wrote:
If you take away the weapons, then you seriously undermine the chance of damage being done. However, it doesn't eliminate the problem of mental health.
on January 16,2013 | 11:04AM
Bdpapa wrote:
Okay, good idea but what program is he closing to pay for this? Something got to go.
on January 16,2013 | 09:17AM
entrkn wrote:
We are certainly getting our money's worth from this President but we were not from our last president.
on January 16,2013 | 10:17AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
He says he wants to fundamentally change things but he sells out to entrenched interests like Big Pharma and Wall Street. Bush Lite.
on January 16,2013 | 10:35AM
entrkn wrote:
I wholeheartedly support our President's executive decisions and proposals toward a sane and reasonable gun control policy...
on January 16,2013 | 10:35AM
newsjunky1 wrote:
Many of the gun atrocities are a result of mental illness. How about we do something substantive about that or is that just not sexy enough? Trampling on the 2nd amendment seems more fashionable. And please read the 2nd amendment and what George Mason (co-author) wrote in regards to the 2nd amendment.
on January 16,2013 | 11:23AM
Matsu wrote:
This whole process is just designed to make people "feel good". Nothing in these measures would have saved the lives of those kids in Connecticut. Connecticut has the most stringent rules for getting a person involuntarily sent to a mental hospital. The shooter's mother was trying to get her son placed in an institution, but ran into the CT red tape. Why isn't Obama responding to how our country handles mental issues? Why, because this is not about solving the actual problem, this is about pursuing the liberal’s needs to restrict freedoms. As a key member of Obama's cabinet said- "never let a good tragedy go to waste".
on January 16,2013 | 11:27AM
kalanik001 wrote:
why mr president why, what difference does it make if a guns magazine can hold 30 rounds or ten rounds? how does that reduce gun violence?imposing restrictions on already law abiding gun owning citizens,how does that keep our country safe? because the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. did we not try an assault weapons ban previously to no avail? the most pressing issue facing us is our $18,000,000,000,000.00 national debt. address that mr president.
on January 16,2013 | 11:33AM
hawaiikone wrote:
Obama is moving ahead with his plan to change this country radically. Everyone with any sense knows these proposed regulations will do nothing to prevent nuts from mass murders except appease the outraged masses. Obama knows it too, but also knows he probably has enough public sentiment to force this through. What he's counting on is after it's shown that little will change, the next step can be taken, which is to begin confiscation. Probably not by him, but the stage will have been set. And with most guns already registered, it becomes easy to start taking them away. What we wind up with is a disarmed nation, easy to control, with little fear of opposition. The free, independent American will be a thing of the past, and we'll wind up a clone of many European countries. A good thing, or bad? Either way, it changes forever our founder's vision for a free people.
on January 16,2013 | 01:18PM
JohnClark wrote:
To believe that only "nuts" murder is a red herring. People kill those whom they regard as their mortal enemy. In times of war, it is sanctioned by the government. In times of peace, it is regarded as against the law. But we're all capable, want to see my medals? Meanwhile, disarm, remove the easy tools of killing. They're called guns. BO sees this, and is doing it, and he's right to do it.
on January 16,2013 | 05:23PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Hey there Johnnie....there are right now 270,000,000 personal firearms in the USA. How you gonna "disarm"? How you gonna remove "the easy tools" of killing? You do realize that nothing that Obama has offered will lower that number - almost 90 guns for every 100 citizens.
on January 16,2013 | 05:48PM
JohnClark wrote:
A nation of wouldbe killers. Some culture. Make you feel good? Powerful? Win all the arguments?
on January 16,2013 | 06:02PM
hawaiikone wrote:
No all, just this one...
on January 16,2013 | 09:42PM
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