US President Barack Obama on Wednesday proposed sweeping gun control laws to make them more stringent than ever in an attempt to prevent massacres such as the Newton one.
While the most significant changes — ban on assault weapons, high capacity magazine and background checks — will require legislative action, executive measures won’t.
He announced a list of 23 executive measures that went into effect soon after the event with his signature. One of them will require target shooters, for instance, to leave their guns locked and at the range after they are done, rather than carry them home, where they could fall into the wrong hands.
The president asked lawmakers, some of whom will be difficult to convince, to ban military style assault weapons, high capacity magazine and mandate strict background check.
“This is our first task as a society: Keeping our children safe,” said Obama, flanked by vice-president Joe Biden and some children who wrote to him after Newton.
Parents of some of the victims of the Newton shooting were present. The president will be tapping into the country-wide outrage over the killing of 20 first-graders and six adults at Newton, to push through his plan: a mix of executive orders and laws.
Some lawmakers, including from his own party, have already come out against strict gun laws, arguing, “only good guys with guns can stop bad guys with guns”. And not less guns.
“While reducing gun violence is a complicated challenge, protecting our children from harm shouldn’t be a divisive one,” he said.