President Barack Obama has announced he will take unilateral action to tackle the gun violence in the United States.
In his first weekly address of 2016, Barack Obama said he would meet Attorney General Loretta Lynch to discuss actions he could take.
Barack Obama said he was using his executive powers as president because the US Congress has failed to address the problem.
Analysts say there will be a backlash from gun activists and Republicans.
However, Barack Obama told Americans that he had received too many letters from parents, and teachers, and children, to sit around and do nothing.
“We know that we can’t stop every act of violence,” he said.
“But what if we tried to stop even one? What if Congress did something – anything – to protect our kids from gun violence?”
Barack Obama has admitted that his inability to win Congressional backing for what he called “common sense gun laws” was the greatest frustration of his presidency.
The president could use his executive authority in several areas, including expanding new background check requirements for buyers who purchase weapons from high-volume dealers.
However, he is likely to face stiff opposition to his plans.
The National Rifle Association has already launched a video series attacking gun control activists.
In Texas, a new “open carry law” will allow Texans with a permit to wear handguns on their hips in holsters – openly displaying the fact they are armed.
Last month a Texas police chief warned the president that trying to disarm Americans could spark a revolution.
Previous efforts to introduce stricter gun control laws have repeatedly foundered despite the large number of people dying in gun attacks.
A joint Democrat-Republican bill following the 2012 shooting of 20 children and six adults at a primary school in Connecticut failed to get the 60 votes needed to broaden background checks and ban assault weapons.
Francine Wheeler, the mother of a victim of last year’s Sandy Hook shootings, has replaced President Barack Obama to deliver the weekly US presidential radio address.
Francine Wheeler, whose 6-year-old son Ben was killed in Sandy Hook shooting last year, used the nationally-broadcast statement to call for tighter gun controls.
Asking a citizen to deliver the weekly address is a highly unusual move.
The move comes as Barack Obama attempts to ratchet up pressure on the US Congress, which is due to debate new gun laws.
In an often emotional statement, Francine Wheeler recalled waiting for her son to return home following the shootings, and said the “tidal wave of anguish” resulting from that day had yet to recede.
She said new gun laws were needed to prevent more deaths.
Francine Wheeler, the mother of a victim of last year’s Sandy Hook shootings, has replaced President Barack Obama to deliver the weekly US presidential radio address
“We have to convince the Senate to come together and pass commonsense gun responsibility reforms that will make our communities safer and prevent more tragedies like the one we never thought would happen to us,” she said.
Francine Wheeler’s son Ben was killed along with 19 other children and six staff when 20-year-old Adam Lanza opened fire at his elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
The address was broadcast on radio and released as a video online.
This week senators are due to debate new laws that will extend background checks to gun sales made at gun shows and over the internet.
The measures are the result of a bipartisan deal struck between Republican and Democrat senators last week.
Senators later voted to debate the legislation, but no new laws have yet been passed.
A White House call for a ban on assault weapons and a limit to the capacity of ammunition magazines that can be sold has not gained traction among lawmakers.
In a statement President Barack Obama said Francine Wheeler’s message was one that “every American should hear”.
“This shouldn’t be about politics,” the president said.
“This is about doing the right thing for families that have been torn apart by gun violence, and for all our families going forward.”
The influence of America’s gun lobby in Washington remains strong, and means the measures being discussed are by no means certain to become law.
President Barack Obama pledged this morning to put his “full weight” behind a legislative gun control package aimed at avoiding another Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.
In an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press, Barack Obama voiced skepticism about proposals to place armed guards at schools in the aftermath of the December 14th deadly assault in Connecticut which claimed the lives of 20 first graders and six teachers.
In his boldest terms yet, Barack Obama vowed to rally the American people around an agenda to limit gun violence and said he still supports increased background checks and bans on assault weapons and high capacity clips or magazines.
“It is not enough for us to say. This is too hard so we’re not going to try,” Barack Obama said.
“So what I intend to do is I will call all the stakeholders together. I will meet with Republicans. I will meet with Democrats. I will talk to anybody.
“I think there are a vast majority of responsible gun owners out there who recognize that we can’t have a situation in which somebody with severe psychological problems is able to get the kind of high capacity weapons that this individual in Newtown obtained and gun down our kids. And, yes, it’s going to be hard.”
Barack Obama’s comments come as the schoolroom shooting has elevated the issue of gun violence to the forefront of public attention.
Six adults also died at the school. Authorities say the shooter killed himself and also killed his mother at their home.
The slayings have prompted renewed calls for greater gun controls. The National Rifle Association has resisted those efforts vociferously, arguing instead that schools should have armed guards for protection.
“I am skeptical that the only answer is putting more guns in schools,” the president said.
“And I think the vast majority of the American people are skeptical that that somehow is going to solve our problem.”
In an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press, Barack Obama voiced skepticism about proposals to place armed guards at schools in the aftermath of the December 14th deadly assault in Connecticut which claimed the lives of 20 first graders and six teachers
Barack Obama said he intended to press the issue with the public.
“Will there be resistance? Absolutely there will be resistance,” he said.
“The question then becomes whether we are actually shook up enough by what happened here that it does not just become another one of these routine episodes where it gets a lot of attention for a couple of weeks and then it drifts away. It certainly won’t feel like that to me.
“This is something that – you know, that was the worst day of my presidency. And it’s not something that I want to see repeated.”
Besides getting gun violence legislation passed next year, Barack Obama also listed immigration as a top priority for 2013 as well as deficit reduction.
A big deficit reduction deal with Republicans proved elusive this month and Obama is now hoping Senate Democratic and Republican leaders salvage a scaled back plan that avoids across the board tax increases for virtually all Americans.
He issued a defense of former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, who has been mentioned as one of the leading candidates for new secretary of defense.
Chuck Hagel, who opposed President George W. Bush’s decision to go to war with Iraq, has been criticized in conservative circles for not being a strong enough ally of Israel.
Many liberals and gay activists also have banded against him for comments he made in 1998 about an openly gay nominee for an ambassadorship.
Barack Obama, who briefly served with Chuck Hagel in the Senate, stressed that he had yet to make a decision on a secretary of defense but said called Hagel a “patriot”.
“He is somebody who has done extraordinary work both in the United States Senate,” he said.
“Somebody who served this country with valor in Vietnam. And is somebody who’s currently serving on my intelligence advisory board and doing an outstanding job.”
Barack Obama noted that Chuck Hagel had apologized for his 14-year-old remark.
“And I think it’s a testimony to what has been a positive change over the last decade in terms of people’s attitudes about gays and lesbians serving our country,” he said.
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