President Obama Calls For Changes In Gun Control - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

President Obama Calls For Changes In Gun Control

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President Barack Obama unveiled new policies Wednesday aimed at reducing gun violence. The package includes a call on Congress to ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and it would close loopholes in the gun sale background check system.

"If you want to buy a gun, whether it's from a licensed dealer or a private seller, you should at least have to show you are not a felon or somebody legally prohibited from buying one. This is common sense. And an overwhelming majority of Americans agree with us on the need for universal background checks, including more than 70 percent of the National Rifle Association's members, according to one survey. So there's no reason we can't do this," Obama said.

He also is signing 23 executive actions - which require no congressional approval - including several aimed at improving access to data for background checks. In addition, a presidential memorandum will instruct the Centers for Disease Control to research causes and prevention of gun violence.

The executive actions are part of a 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.

"I also believe most gun owners agree that we can respect the Second Amendment while keeping an irresponsible, law-breaking few from inflicting harm on a massive scale. I believe most of them agree that if America worked harder to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, there would be fewer atrocities like the one that occurred in Newtown," Obama said.

Mr. Obama acknowledged his legislative proposals will likely meet fierce opposition from many gun-rights groups and appealed for public support.

"Because while there is no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence completely, no piece of legislation that will prevent every tragedy, every act of evil, if there is even one thing we can do to reduce this violence, if there's even one life that can be saved, then we've got an obligation to try," he added.

The White House says nearly 40 percent of gun sales conducted by private individuals are now exempt from checking the backgrounds of buyers and not all states fully share criminal and mental health data with the government. Obama is also ordering federal agencies to make "relevant data" available to the federal background check system and to remove barriers that might prevent states from providing information, particularly mental health data, for background checks.

Mr. Obama was joined by four children who had written to the White House after the shooting in Newtown. They expressed their fears over the safety of young people in the wake of gun violence including a letter from a girl introduced as Julia who wrote, "I'm not scared for my safety, I'm scared for others. I have four brothers and sisters and I know I would not be able to bear the thought of losing any of them."

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