An emotional President Barack Obama unveiled his plan to address gun violence in the nation via increased controls and enforcement of laws.
Obama's actions on gun control are set to include the hiring of 230 additional FBI-hired examiners to process background checks on those seeking to purchase firearms, increased investment in mental health care services, federal research on technologies that can make firearms safer, and clarification on who is defined as a gun seller, which will thusly require said dealers to get a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms as well as conduct background checks on prospective buyers.
The president said his executive actions will not undermine Second Amendment rights, but will strengthen and push the enforcement of rules surrounding the distribution of firearms.
"This is not a plot to take away everybody's guns," Obama said Tuesday. "You pass a background check, you purchase a firearm. The problem is some gun sellers have been operating under a different set of rules."
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) released a statement in response to the president's plans, highlighting the issue of gun violence in Chicago communities.
"We know this issue all too well in Illinois. There were 2,939 people shot in Chicago last year, and families and communities are suffering," the senator pointed out. "We've got to do something. I can understand why the American people are upset with Congress--the overwhelming majority of Americans support common sense reforms to our gun laws. But the majority in Congress refuses to pass reforms even to keep guns out of the hands of convicted felons, people who are mentally unstable, and those who are on terrorist watch lists. The President has a list of things he can do--it won't solve all these problems by a long shot, but it moves us in the right direction. I appreciate his efforts to do more to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people while ensuring that Second Amendment rights are protected."
Calling the president's actions "an important step," U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL,11) said federal lawmakers need to do even more to address the issue of gun violence in America.
"While these actions are much needed, they alone are not enough," Foster said via statement Tuesday. "It's time for Members of Congress to stand up against the special interests that have blocked every reasonable effort to curb gun violence and take action."
Congressman Tammy Duckworth (D-IL,8), who is running for U.S. Senate, echoed the sentiments of Durbin and Foster following the president's announcement.
"Just five minutes after Illinoisans finished their countdowns and rang in the New Year, police received Chicago's first report of gun violence," Duckworth noted. "Two hours later, the city mourned its first shooting death of the year. It does not need to be this way, and the American people are demanding action to keep our children and communities safe from gun violence.
"The President's new proposals are small steps toward where we ought to be, but he cannot enact meaningful firearm safety reforms on his own," she added. "We must not ignore these tragedies any longer--Congress must finally act in the best interests of the American people, close risky loopholes and pass legislation to keep these weapons out of the hands terrorists, criminals and the dangerously mentally ill."