state of the union

Obama State Of The Union Speech Demands Vote On Gun Control Bills

by Huffington Post  |  published on February 15, 2013

President Barack Obama on Tuesday called for Congress to vote on a variety of gun control proposals that are currently up for debate, and he offered a heartfelt, but not sharply political, endorsement for the proposals.

Towards the end of his State of the Union address, as the speech reached a crescendo, the president turned to the topic of gun violence: “What I’ve said tonight matters little if we don’t come together to protect our most precious resource — our children.”

“This is not the first time this country has debated how to reduce gun violence,” Obama said. But two months after the shooting of 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., he said, “This time is different.”

“Overwhelming majorities of Americans -– Americans who believe in the 2nd Amendment — have come together around common-sense reform, like background checks that will make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun,” Obama continued. “Senators of both parties are working together on tough new laws to prevent anyone from buying guns for resale to criminals. Police chiefs are asking our help to get weapons of war and massive ammunition magazines off our streets, because they are tired of being outgunned.”

Universal background checks, and the tougher penalties for “straw purchases” of guns, are some of the most popular gun-control proposals among voters, and both may eventually win bipartisan support. But a ban on military-style weapons faces an uphill battle in Congress, where Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has championed a renewal of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, which expired in 2004.

The measures face opposition largely from Republicans, but in an unexpected move, Obama did not single out any of the biggest obstacles to the bills, which include the powerful National Rifle Association. Instead, he asked only they be put to a vote.

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