Obama wipes away tears as he calls for new gun measures. The president gets emotional as he remembers Sandy Hook “victims” and fiercely calls for more rights for those vulnerable to gun violence.
“I’m not on the ballot again. I’m not looking to score some points. I think we can disagree without impugning other people’s motives,” President Obama said.
President Barack Obama wept openly Tuesday as he delivered a forceful defense of new executive actions on gun violence, a set of modest proposals to tighten loopholes that likely face quick legal challenges and could be vulnerable to reversal by a Republican White House.
The president ran through a list of mass shootings that have happened during his time in office, and teared up as he recalled the schoolchildren gunned down in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012.
“I’m not on the ballot again. I’m not looking to score some points. I think we can disagree without impugning other people’s motives,” he said. “But we do have to feel a fierce sense of urgency about it. In Dr. King’s words, we need to feel the fierce urgency of now. Because people are dying and the constant excesses for inaction no longer do, no longer suffice. That’s why we’re here today, not to debate the last mass shooting but to prevent the next one.”
As the details of Obama’s actions— and their limited nature — became clear, reactions of Republicans took on a tone that was more dismissive than alarm-raising. While some continued to attack Obama for going after law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights, others pooh-poohed his actions as theater.
“Rather than focus on criminals and terrorists,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said, “he goes after the most law-abiding of citizens. His words and actions amount to a form of intimidation that undermines liberty.”
Despite such condemnation, there’s little chance this GOP-controlled Congress can block the president’s latest gun control moves. That’s because there are no must-pass bills looming that Republicans could use as vehicles to force Democrats to undo Obama’s actions. Furthermore, Senate Democrats would likely block any movement in the Senate on individual bills. And any stand-alone legislation that managed to pass the House and Senate would surely be vetoed by Obama.
Ryan said the GOP’s best chance to overturn the executive orders is to elect a Republican president in 2016.
Gun rights advocates argue that new restrictions aren’t necessary because gun homicide rates have dropped even as gun ownership has soared. National Rifle Association used blistering language to cast the moves as a way to distract from other more pressing problems, echoing GOP lines of attack.
“Once again, President Obama has chosen to engage in political rhetoric instead of offering meaningful solutions to our nation’s pressing problems,” said NRA Legislative Action Executive Director Chris W. Cox. “Today’s event also represents an ongoing attempt to distract attention away from his lack of a coherent strategy to keep the American people safe from terrorist attacks.”