"We can respect the Second Amendment while keeping an irresponsible law-breaking few from inflicting harm on a massive scale," Obama said. (AP Photo)

"We can respect the Second Amendment while keeping an irresponsible law-breaking few from inflicting harm on a massive scale," Obama said. (AP Photo)

Obama Unveils Ambitious Gun Control Plan

President Barack Obama unveiled a series of “common sense” initiatives to reduce gun violence at today’s mid-day announcement at the White House.

"This is our first task as a society: keeping our children safe. This is how we will be judged," Obama said. “We can’t put this off any longer."

The proposal, which comes in the wake of the Newton, Connecticut school tragedy, is based on a month-long review process by Vice President Joe Biden’s task force on gun violence. It concentrates on four key areas: universal background checks, a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, school safety and mental health. 

Today Obama named 23 executive actions he will take immediately not requiring congressional approval. They include:

Providing guidance to gun dealers on conducting background checks;

Nominating B. Todd Jones as permanent director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF);

Decreasing school violence by equipping first responders and school officials with better training for active shooting situations;

Directing the Centers for Disease Control and other agencies to research the causes and prevention of gun violence;

and more.

The majority of reforms, however, require lawmaker approval. He urged Congressional action on the following:

Bolster funding for law enforcement;

Institute a federal gun-trafficking statute with more severe penalties;

Implement a ban on military-style assault weapons;

Limit gun magazine capacity to 10 rounds;

and more.

"While there is no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence completely, no piece of legislation that will prevent every tragedy, every act of evil," Obama said at the White House conference, "if there's even one thing we can do to reduce this violence, if there's even one life that can be saved, then we have an obligation to try it."

View the full plan, "Now Is the Time: The President’s Plan to Protect our Children and our Communities by Reducing Gun Violence," here (PDF).

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