President Barack Obama unveiled sweeping new policies Wednesday aimed at limiting gun violence, teeing up a political showdown that will pit the broad public popularity for many gun control measures against Congress’s tepid appetite for approving the most stringent restrictions on gun ownership.
"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 a mid-day announcement at the White House, "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."
Acknowledging the difficulty of the Congressional fight ahead, Obama appealed for public support, slamming - as he did in a press conference earlier this week - conservative commentators and the most vocal pro-gun activists for "ginning up" opposition to gun reforms for political reasons.
"I will put everything I've got into this and so will Joe [Biden], but I tell you, the only way we can change is if the American people demand it," he said.
Some of the main legislative proposals backed by Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are:
1. Requiring criminal background checks on all gun sales, including private sales.
2. Banning "military-style" assault weapons.
3. Limiting ammunition magazines to 10 rounds.
4. Strengthening penalties for gun trafficking.
The president also laid out a series of 23 executive actions - free from a Congressional blockade -- intended to strengthen existing laws, augment mental health measures and promote federal research on gun crime through the Centers for Disease Control.
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