President Obama pushes for new ban on 'assault weapons,' a 10-round limit on magazine capacity, and tougher background checks without congressional action as part of a comprehensive gun-violence proposal.
About 2:00PM, Democrat U.S. Congressman John Barrow of Georgia's 12th District, the Savannah area, released the following statement on the President's proposals for gun control policy.
"I support the President's call for stronger enforcement of existing gun crime laws, because that's been the real problem. But I strongly disagree with proposals that would deny law abiding citizens their Second Amendment rights, and I'm disappointed he did not propose increased security measures for our schools."
"We need to find practical solutions to gun violence that are consistent with the Second Amendment, rather than having another political debate in Washington that divides Americans."
Then another statement arrived from District 14 GOP Rep. Tom Graves in response to President Obama's press conference:
"As the father of three and the husband of an elementary school teacher, it has been devastating to see the loss of life at the hands of armed madmen. In the aftermath of these tragedies, our nation has at once been united in grief and divided by a political agenda put forward by the president."
"The political agenda disregards the reality that violent criminals and murderers do not live by the laws of our land. It focuses on the re-regulation of lawful gun use, with the least consideration given to the rights of people to protect themselves, their families and their places of community gathering. I will continue to defend Second Amendment rights and oppose legislation that seeks to infringe on or intimidate people from exercising those rights," Graves said.
1st District Congressman Jack Kingston released the following statement in response to President Barack Obama's remarks and executive actions on gun control:
"We owe this country a thorough and thoughtful discussion on what actions can be taken to prevent future tragedies. Unfortunately, this national debate is already digressing into the usual camps and an ‘us versus them' mentality. The victims of Newtown and all victims of gun violence deserve better.
"I am encouraged that the President has put mental health as well as the relationship between video games, media images, and violence on the table. I am disappointed, however, that he would immediately resort to executive orders rather than working with Congress on a comprehensive legislative response," said Kingston.
"As someone in elected office, I am very concerned that the President's approach will divide this country in a way we have not been before. Gun sales have been through the roof over the past month and the intensity of email traffic my office is receiving is worrisome. The President should take a leadership role and say ‘let's take a step back to approach this issue calmly."
"As to the specific legislative proposals the President advocates, I am doubtful some of them pass constitutional muster or would be effective in preventing another Newtown. The perpetrators of mass violence do not concern themselves with what laws they are breaking in the commission of their crimes," Kingston said.
"We are united in our desire to prevent gun violence. Let's put aside the failed old arguments of the past and come together to accomplish that task in a meaningful way."
8th District U.S. Congressman Austin Scott also questioned the president's actions: "Americans have as much right to defend their families as President Obama does his. I am concerned that some of the President's executive actions will ultimately impede their ability to do that. I do not understand what part of "shall not be infringed" is so confusing to him."
In front of school children on the stage, Obama said he will issue executive orders immediately, and calls on Congress to pass laws. He says his critics will warn of "an assault on liberty" and try to block his orders.
Obama says that it 'can't just be the usual suspects' who demand change, but the call must come from 'other parts of the country.'
He says citizens must call on their legislators to demand action, as he listed sites of mass shootings in recent years.
Obama is taking 23 executive actions aimed at curbing gun violence that don't require congressional action, including measures to encourage schools to hire police officers, increase research on gun violence and improve efforts to prosecute gun crime.
The executive actions are part of an overarching package assembled by a task force led by Vice President Joe Biden. The measures come a month after the mass shooting in Newtown, Ct., that killed 20 elementary school children.
Obama is directing the Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence and is seeking rules to ensure that law enforcement conducts background checks before returning seized firearms.
He intends to nominate Todd Jones as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Jones is the agency's acting director.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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