Congress didn’t act, so the president did. In an emotional speech today from the White House, President Barack Obama announced 23 executive actions that will change the way guns are bought and sold.
“Every time I think about those kids, it makes me mad,” he said at the press conference, referring to the Sandy Hook Elementary gun massacre. The president wiped away a tear as he spoke about the first graders who were gunned down in a Connecticut classroom.
“Our inalienable right to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness, those rights were stripped from high schoolers in Columbine and from first graders in Newtown. First graders,” he said, while Vice President Joe Biden stood at his side and struggled to maintain composure.
“In Dr. King’s words, we need to feel the fierce urgency of now because people are dying.”
“We are not inherently more prone to violence, but we are the only advanced country on earth that sees this kind of mass violence erupt with this kind of frequency,” he said. “It’s not even close. And somehow, we become numb to it and start to think this is normal.”
He said instead of working together to find solutions, it’s become one of the most polarizing issues today.
He called for “common sense steps” to protect the lives of children.
The president said he believes in the Second Amendment right to bear arms, “but I also believe that we can find ways to reduce gun violence consistent with the Second Amendment.” He said it “can’t be right” that terror suspects can still buy guns, even after the San Bernardino massacre.
“The gun lobby may be holding Congress hostage right now, but they cannot hold America hostage. We do not have to accept this carnage as the price of freedom,” he said to loud and prolonged applause. He called for Congress to “get on board,” but said he would take action in the meantime.
The executive orders include changes to rules that will allow mental health providers to add names to the national background check database.
Conservatives on Twitter responded predictably.
Meanwhile, over at Fox, Outnumbered talking head Andrea Tantaros accused the president of hiding a raw onion behind the podium, saying his emotions are “not really believable.”
But it was liberal blogger and Guardian columnist Jessica Valenti who had the last, best word:
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