President Obama Calls for Universal Background Checks—Your Thoughts?

In an address Wednesday morning, Obama also announced he would sign 23 executive orders related to gun control, public safety and mental health.

Update, 12:45 p.m.: The National Rifle Association (NRA) issued the following statement in response to President Obama's proposals:

Throughout its history, the National Rifle Association has led efforts to promote safety and responsible gun ownership. Keeping our children and society safe remains our top priority.

The NRA will continue to focus on keeping our children safe and securing our schools, fixing our broken mental health system, and prosecuting violent criminals to the fullest extent of the law. We look forward to working with Congress on a bi-partisan basis to find real solutions to protecting America’s most valuable asset – our children.

Attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation. Only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy.


President Obama announced Wednesday he will ask Congress to pass legislation requiring universal background checks for anyone attempting to buy a gun, restore a ban on military-style assault weapons, and limit magazines to seven bullets. 

What do you think of the president's proposals? Tell us in the comments section.

Obama also said he will sign 23 executive orders to enhance background checks, give mental health professionals more options for reporting threats of violence, and providing additional funds to schools to hire resource officers.

Repeatedly mentioning mass shootings in Newtown, CT; Clackamas, OR; and Aurora, CO, Obama said significant enhancements in gun control will come only if people from all parts of the country—including current gun owners—support the changes.

"We have to examine ourselves and our hearts, and ask ourselves, what is important?" he said. "This will not happen unless the American people demand it.”

More details on Obama's proposals can be found in the attached PDF or on a new White House website dedicated to the topic.

Jon H January 18, 2013 at 05:14 PM
Your opinion Joe. Of course you don't have any stats that suggest how any of the proposed Obama prohibitions will do anything other than impact those who will follow the law in the first place. Maybe a picture will help... http://i448.photobucket.com/albums/qq203/redgewock/funny%20pics/eputu7y5_zpse92217d2.jpg
Jon H January 18, 2013 at 05:20 PM
I think the point is that the scale of the 'gun violence' issue is being taken way out of proportion. If you really care about the deaths of children (or society in general), regardless of what caused it, you would be better spending your time dealing with other issues. This is especially true when you dissect the gun death stats and understand that most are suicide and the next major chunk is gang violence occurring in urban areas that already feature very restrictive gun laws. So for the progressive democrat crowd is just using the kid for their political objectives. Heck, if preservation of life in all cases and as the President has said his bar is 'just one life' maybe some increased restrictions on abortion should be considered. Prove that the proposed restrictions will have a net positive to the violent deaths in this country.
Edward A. January 18, 2013 at 05:21 PM
You seem to be of the opinion that there are two sides to this. There aren't. There are at least three (but it is really a spectrum). There are the people who want all guns banned. I see people like this on these forums sometimes. They are nuts. There are the people who want all guns legal for law-abiding citizens like themselves. They are also nuts. Then there are normal, reasonable, people who believe there should be some controls on guns. What is frustrating, and the source of my irritation and sarcasm. is that it is impossible to have a discussion on gun control without the people closer to the "all guns should be legal for all law-abiding citizens" end of the spectrum spouting the same bumper sticker slogans, over and over, and drowning out any meaningful discussion. One common tactic, which you heartily employed, is to appeal to peoples' emotions by attempting to demonstrate that the "Founding Fathers" (as if they all agreed on anything!) wanted us to be armed so we could threaten the Union. This has two problems: 1. Your puny weapons don't threaten the government. If you think they do, refer to the Branch Davidians and Ruby Ridge. 2. The founding fathers didn't envision the kind of weapons, or even the kind of society, we have now.
BillT January 18, 2013 at 05:23 PM
It's clear to me the 2nd amendment is a God given right to some and to others a right that needs to go or be regulated. What the Congress should do is do what they do best and tax. Congress should impose a 50% tax on any weapon that can handle 10 rounds or more. For guns that are already owned , there should be a 50% taxes on ammunition for any assault type weapon. We should start with a 50% tax on any .223 round and its reload brass. You would still have the right to own, but you would have to pay for their social danger.
Saira V. January 18, 2013 at 05:24 PM
Thanks Dexter. This video illustrates how the media talking heads say one thing and do another when it comes to their own situations. Come on now! Isn't it hypocritical for someone to advocate "no guns" and then have armed guards watching their house or coming to the door and displaying a gun to solicitors!!!
Jon H January 18, 2013 at 05:28 PM
Edward- there are already restrictions in place. My question is what is the evidence that we need to do anything more than what exists today. Is it to do something? Where are the people who cried about GW Bush after 9/11? The DHS, TSA and Patriot Act were wrong. I haven't changed my mind. And at the time the anti-bush crowd was fit to be tied. But now that their dude is running the show these self-identified liberty advocates disappear into the shadows. The burden of proof for additional restrictions needs to be high and on the person proposing the change. Trading liberties in knee jerk ways is not the way to make changes. If the goal is 'rational' discussion, lets talk about it in 6 months? Of course by that time there won't be any support for the sort of things that Obama is proposing and so he knows it is now or never. Unfortunately this is coming at the cost of the real debate which is the ever-increasing size and spending in government.
Edward A. January 18, 2013 at 05:33 PM
Note: I wasn't calling for more restrictions. I am not in favor of more gun control, but I would like to see loopholes (like the background check loophole) closed. I am just frustrated that it isn't possible to have a discussion without being shouted down with sound-bite arguments lifted from well-organized pro-gun websites.
Jon H January 18, 2013 at 06:04 PM
So adding more laws for whatever reason is likely a restriction on some level. You will never stop cash trade of guns. Law abiding gun enthusiasts will likely have a CPL (thus a background check) and/or use an FFL. If you go to a local gun show you will see that membership is required to buy and if I recall that involves some verification. Any dealer at a show is still required to run a NICS check. So I don't see a major gain. Sure it might feel good to do something, but that doesn't mean it is good policy.
Joe M January 18, 2013 at 06:16 PM
Jon, you and I may be in far more agreement than your combativeness would seem to indicate. I have not defended Obama's proposals, so I have no idea why you would demand that I do so. The picture you linked to has some truth to it. But I haven't advocated that we disarm law-abiding citizens, so I am mystified as to why you think this picture will help me in any way. My principal beef is with the NRA. They pretend to be an advocate for the gun owner, and at one time they were, but no longer. If they were an advocate for gun owners, they might have come out of the meeting with Biden saying they supported closing the background check loophole. Polls show a majority of NRA members support this. Instead, LaPierre just spewed out a bunch of crazy talk demeaning the whole idea of any kind of gun regulation, no matter how sensible and well-supported. I wouldn't care much about the NRA if they didn't exert such extraordinary influence over our government. They aren't just crazy - they're crazy dangerous.
John Locatelli January 18, 2013 at 07:08 PM
It's So Simple----President Obama has proposed fair and reasonable solutions to gun owners and non gun owners alike to mitigate our increasing gun violence. Any other discussion is just noise to be tuned out like static on a radio.
Phillip January 18, 2013 at 07:46 PM
Some of the Founding Fathers were pro-slavery too, Bob. I suppose you want us to return to that as well? Or maybe we should go back to when only white males could vote. I'm willing to bet you wouldn't want either of those things, the point being the FF's were hardily infallible in their judgement.
Bob Wilke January 18, 2013 at 08:04 PM
Phillip, your point regarding slavery and women's right to vote has little if nothing to do with the 2nd amendment. The Founding Fathers were strong proponents of our right to bear arms. They continually pointed out that the government would fear an armed citizenry and would not fear one that was not armed. The left has been trying to take gun rights away for decades and slowly they are succeeding. I have a healthy fear of my government, no matter who is in the WH. History makes it clear that one of the first things an oppressive government does to enslave their people is to take away their guns. If anyone thinks that that can't happen in our day, they are mistaken.
Phillip January 18, 2013 at 08:22 PM
Actually Bob yes it does, both slavery and women's suffrage were passed by constitutional amendments that over-rode the founding father's original constitutional intentions. if it can be done to correct those erroneous 'judgements', why shouldn't/couldn't be done here? why is the 2nd amendment and only the 2nd amendment so sacred that it cannot be at least open for discussion? Btw - I am not for an assault rifle ban or taking away weapons, i just find the 'it's in the constitution' excuse to be simplistic and intellectually incomplete. The constitution has changed as recently as 1992, to say it is somehow unacceptable in this case is a poor argument.
Edward A. January 18, 2013 at 09:17 PM
Unless you started with a conclusion ("it won't help") and are planning to ignore evidence to the contrary, prepare to be surprised at how easily you can get guns with no background check, or even valid ID. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASjfzG4mpyU http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gv2u7l8rKrQ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQEDvqmAfqg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gq2faC-u87g
Jon H January 21, 2013 at 05:47 AM
Edward - I can buy a gun on the black market too... the people who don't care about the laws today won't care when 10 more are passed. So people such as myself who seek to be in good standing with the law are forced to compromise our freedom to make some politicians feel good about themselves and the availability for criminals stays the same with the added benefit of easy prey.
Jer Bear January 21, 2013 at 08:48 AM
The NRA "enables gun violence?" Please provide proof for that statement. As for the NRA meeting with Joe "BiteMe," I don't believe the VP called the meeting to listen to the NRA. Rather, it was, This is my government and you will do what I want!
Jer Bear January 21, 2013 at 08:57 AM
What is your POINT? Babble, babble, babble!
Jer Bear January 21, 2013 at 09:09 AM
Obama has no clue as to what is "fair and reasonable solutions!" How's the economy working for you John? Who will Obama blame for the last 4 years. How long has it been since Congress passed a budget? Obama hasn't the courage or character to accept blame for anything! But, he sure as hell is "fundamentally changing America!" Now it's "gun owners" who are his target. How about the armed bank robber, armed store robber or any armed criminal. Where the hell do you think they got their weapons? Oh, I forgot. This is just "static" for you. So you just tune it out. How pathetic!
Joe M January 21, 2013 at 02:01 PM
I couldn't find a comment here containing "enables gun violence", so I don't know who or what you are addressing. As for proof: (1) Guns enable gun violence. This is self evident. (2) The NRA's primary objective is helping the gun industry sell more guns. Again, this is pretty obvious. (3) I don't see the NRA doing anything to curb gun violence. I wouldn't say that the NRA enables gun violence, but the evidence is there if somebody else wants to say it.
Phillip January 21, 2013 at 05:08 PM
Jer- Are you familiar with this document called the Constitiution? If you were, then you would know Congress and ONLY Congress can write the budget. The President can only sign or veto it. Congress writes the laws, the president can only sign them into law or veto them, at which time Congress can override said veto. Blaming Obama for a the lack of a budget betrays your lack of knowledge of how the system works; and/or reveals you are so biased that you're going to blame Obama for everything, including stuff he has no legal authority over. I didn't vote for the man either, it doesn't prevent me from being an honest broker when it comes to his actions. You want a legitimate, impeachable complaint about the man? He orders high tech assassinations on American citizens who haven't been charged with a crime, much less convicted of anything. If your side was honestly concerned about the our 'rights' and the Constitution they would be screaming to the sky over this, but their not. The Libs who screamed about about GWB shredding the Constitution then standby silent when Obama does the same thing are just as bad. Both are nothing more than 2 sides of the same partisan extremist coin. The 'it's okay when my guy does it, but its the end of the world when the other guy does the EXACT SAME THING' partisan mentality is what killing this country, not Obama, and not Bush. Neither man has the power to do that on their own, we voters are bear most of the responsibility.
Bob Martinek January 21, 2013 at 05:36 PM
Jer of short term memory. Four short years ago we were on a presicipice of economic collapse. With Obama's leadership we have begun a slow sustainable and steady economic recovery. Housing construction is up, auto sales are up, technical jobs are screaming for educated people, unemployment is down and banks are in full recovery. AIG has paid back their debt to a profit for Americans and yet you complain. Well only two reasons I can think of, you don't read or your income is over $450K to which I say congradulations for earning a successful income, otherwise your Federal Income Tax will NOT go up!
John Locatelli January 21, 2013 at 09:39 PM
Anyone that argure that laws regulating guns are useless because somebody will break them anyway has then to be against all laws by the same reasoning. Why have speed limits and consequences for breaking that law if someone will speed inspite of the law?
christina January 22, 2013 at 12:57 AM
Background checks will be very helpful! I know my son wanted to buy an airsoft gun from, Airsplat.com but he isn't 18 yet so thankfully they asked to speak with me! Great company by the way!!
David DSouza January 22, 2013 at 04:21 PM
Guns have an impact on society including the need to provide gun use education, enforce gun laws, increased police, and restitution for innocent victims and families of gun violence. A broad based gun and ammo tax can be assessed that funds these efforts without being arbitrary. There are more victims of handgun violence than assault gun violence, for example. Some may argue the NRA does this already but unfortunately, the NRA is not neutral and promotes steps forward as well as two steps backward - such as lobbying for laws that prevent the CDC from studying gun violence in the same way they study auto accidents.
Bryan January 23, 2013 at 06:30 AM
Bryan January 23, 2013 at 06:47 AM
Bad analogy John. I don't need a license to speed to protect my home and property. Further, if someone else speeds, I doesn't mean that I need to. It's hardly comparable to the firearm issue.
Bryan January 23, 2013 at 06:49 AM
I recently read an article that contained some interesting points. Whether you agree or disagree, it did remind me of the fact that ranchers along the Mexican border have had to arm themselves with semi automatic rifles to protect themselves from the drug lords who often come onto their property for nefarious purposes. This article I read primarily referenced the minute men who patrol the border but I know for a fact that simple ranchers and home owners have had to form a union to protect themselves from the Mexican gangs. The U.S. government has not provided any protection whatsoever. I don't think I have heard this brought up as part of any discussion at all. People often ask, who needs semi automatic weapons anyhow? Well some U.S. citizens along the gang infested border apparently do.
dexterjibs January 23, 2013 at 07:30 AM
Joe M, you mean like the hyothetical of "right to an abortion"? I have read the Constitution over and over again and never I have found the word "abortion" in the Constitution. You are very cute in your feckless argument about gun rights. Funny cheeky monkey you are.
Joe M January 23, 2013 at 02:59 PM
dexterjibs, I'll ignore your name calling and irrelevant reference to abortion. All that's left is your assumption that each article of the Constitution means exactly what it says. This is factually incorrect. I don't know if you are ignorant of this, or just pretending to be ignorant when it suits your agenda, but I'll assume the former. The Supreme Court is vested with the final authority to interpret the Constitution. Whenever their interpretation contradicts or augments a plain text reading, their interpretation prevails. You don't have to like their interpretation, but you are legally bound to it. The Supreme Court has confirmed that the government is allowed to regulate what firearms are legal, who qualifies to purchase one, and is allowed to designate the process for purchasing one. When the government does so, there are always ignorant shouts that they are ignoring the Second Amendment. We allow people to shout their ignorance because the First Amendment protects their right to do so. The rights of the government to regulate firearms is not limitless. We now know, at long last, that a citywide ban on handguns is unconstitutional. We only know that because it's what the Supreme Court decided that in DC v. Heller in 2008. If you're still reading this, I should point out that I am not really addressing these comments to you. Facts are no more likely to persuade you than name calling is likely to persuade me.
John Locatelli January 23, 2013 at 05:26 PM
Hi Bryan-- Sorry---I'm having trouble understanding what your point is. Could you rephrase it? I was simply pointing out that the basis for having any laws, rules or regulations in society is the same across all laws. Even though gun rights and regulations are a very emotional issue for most of us that is no reason to exempt them from the sound reasoning that is the basis for a society that is held together by laws.


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