President Obama choked up and wiped away a tear talking about the victims of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School as he spoke to a crowd that included the families of victims of gun violence.
Obama was moved to tears when he recalled the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, which left 20 first graders dead and sparked his contentious second-term push for gun control.
“Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad,” he said, wiping away tears during an event in the East Room. “And by the way, it happens on the streets of Chicago every day.”
Flanked by gun-violence survivors and family members of victims, Obama made a stirring case for stricter gun laws. He said the Second Amendment should be balanced with other rights in the Constitution that were denied to victims of other mass shootings.
“Our right to worship freely and safely — that right was denied to Christians in Charleston, South Carolina,” Obama said. “And that was denied Jews in Kansas City, and that was denied Muslims in Chapel Hill and Sikhs in Oak Creek. They had rights too. Our right to peaceful assembly, that right was robbed from moviegoers in Aurora and Lafayette.”
The steps Obama announced Tuesday amounted to his biggest gun control push since the mass 2012 Sandy Hook shooting.
The actions, which sidestep Congress, are designed to make more gun sales subject to background checks and beef up enforcement of existing laws. But their narrow scope also reflects the the limits of Obama’s power on the issue of guns.
The measures are likely to face legal challenges from gun-rights groups, and a Republican president could quickly rescind them.
Obama’s gun push has dominated the political debate on Capitol Hill and the campaign trail, where Republicans denounced the measures.
“No matter what President Obama says, his word does not trump the Second Amendment,” Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said in a statement. “Ultimately, everything the president has done can be overturned by a Republican president, which is another reason we must win in November.”
GOP presidential candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said the actions “trample on the Second Amendment” and pledged he would reverse them on “day one” of his administration.
President Obama has been in office for nearly 7 years and has never proposed any gun control legislation that would have been remotely effective in stopping the Sandy Hook tragedy. His executive orders announced today would do absolutely nothing to stop mass shootings, or keep guns out of the hands of gang bangers who are responsible for a huge percentage of gun deaths in the U.S. every year.
The simple, unadulterated fact of the matter is that the gun control measures the president has proposed for the last 7 years target law-abiding citizens who own guns or want to own a gun. Gun laws targeting criminals and criminal gun dealers are already on the books. Beefing up enforcement of those laws would be more than acceptable. But it’s so much easier to demonize and target legal owners of firearms, as well as the organizations that fight for their Constitutional rights, when you want to score political points.
But the idea, for instance, that a criminal selling guns to other criminals would be deterred by a new licensing requirements is laughable. The proposed rule requiring law-abiding citizens to get a license to sell firearms even if they want to sell a single gun is more of a nuisance than a serious proposal to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.
We weep with the president for the children killed on that tragic day in Connecticut. But using that tragedy to sell his anti-Constitutional decrees on gun control that would have done nothing to prevent the Sandy Hook killings or any other mass shooting is cynical and thoughtless.