Reporting Aristea Brady
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Parents who lost children in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre listened to President Barack Obama’s proposals Wednesday as he asked Congress for a new, stronger assault weapons ban.
He asked for a 10-round limit on the size of ammunition magazines, universal background checks for gun sales, and more resource officers and counselors in schools.
Among those listening to Obama’s proposal were children who wrote him letters, urging changes in our country’s gun laws. Also in attendance were the parents of a girl named Grace, a 7-year-old who was one of the 26 struck down in the shooting.
The president said that her parents gave him one of the girl’s paintings.
“Every time I look at that painting, I think about Grace and I think about the life that she lived and the life that lay ahead of her,” the president said.
He said he’s also reminded that when protecting the vulnerable, we must act now. Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak says he agrees.
“I have gotten to know too many family members who have lost someone they love, I have stood on far too many street corners with mothers who look over their dead kid and ask me, ‘Where did the gun come from?’ Rybak said.
The president knows that his proposals will be a tough sell with Congress.
“They’re common sense measures,” Obama said. “They have the support of the majority of American people. And yet, that doesn’t mean any of this is going to be easy to enact or implement.”
His most controversial proposal was a ban on assault weapons and ammunition magazines with more than 10 rounds.
In the case of Newtown, Conn., 30-round magazines were used.
But the president didn’t want to wait. Right after his speech, he signed 23 executive orders – that is, 23 laws that start right now.
“This is our first task as a society: keeping our children safe,” he said. “This is how we will be judged.”
Some say the ban on assault weapons and limiting rounds won’t solve the problem of gun crimes. The NRA released a statement saying “only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable.”
Several Republican lawmakers released statements saying they will oppose any new gun laws.
There is, however, some common ground with the NRA when it comes to expanding background checks. The NRA says they’ve been discussing this for years.