“How did we get here?” –President Obama

Flanked by a group of supporters with Vice President Joe Biden at his side, today President Obama unveiled his much anticipated Executive Orders on gun reform at the White House. Speaking for nearly half an hour, the President foreshadowed his unveiling with a brief history of the gridlock that led to today’s announcement.

Although gun reform legislation was previously introduced in the Senate—by two Senators with A grades from the NRA itself, nonetheless—time and again such legislation has been defeated on the Senate floor. Amplifying the President’s frustrations is the now widely disseminated fact that nearly 90% of all Americans support gun reform in some way. Yet, expansion of background checks and more stringent laws intended to prevent these increasingly commonplace massacres have evolved into partisan calling cards for elected officials that render deadlock and undermine the public’s intended desire for progress on this issue.

“We can’t wait!” –President Obama

With his time in the oval office nearing its end, the President’s emotional plea expressed his desire for Congress to act, but he also made it clear that by his authority, the following actions will circumvent partisanship and enact greater safety for all Americans:

  • Mandatory licenses for all firearm dealers; place of sales render no dispensation from this requirement—including internet, store and gun show sales.
  • An expansion of background checks for our most violent criminals
  • More efficient background checks, which involves the hiring of more individuals “to update the system to bring it into the 21st
  • Ensured enforcement of current gun laws, including reporting firearms that are lost or stolen
  • Domestic abuse protection for victims of gun violence
  • Expanded mental illness support and regularly updated mental illness records in national background check systems to prevent purchases
  • Boosted gun safety technology to protect children and prevent the occurrence of unintended accidents

The President became emotional as he detailed his orders, stating, “We must find a balance between all of our rights.” That includes those who firmly uphold the Second Amendment as well as those who choose to gather and worship freely. That includes those in the Charleston church shooting, the Lafayette movie theater incident, Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, the first graders who lost their lives in Newtown, Connecticut at Sandy Hook Elementary, and innocent victims who lose their lives to senseless gun violence on the streets of Chicago everyday—because as the President laments, they all have rights too.

Following today’s announcement, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders released the following statement of support, “It’s become clear that no mass shooting, no matter how big or bloody, will inspire Republicans to put children and innocent Americans over the interests of the NRA. They are simply more loyal to gun lobbyists than our children. That’s why I support President Obama’s executive actions to make our communities safer. A vast majority of the American people, including responsible gun owners who are sickened by the deaths of so many innocent people, agree with the common sense reforms announced today. As president, I will continue these executive orders because it’s past time to end the moral outrage of Aurora, and Newtown and Charleston.” 

Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton took to Twitter to also share her support for the President’s action.