President Announces Proposals to Strengthen Gun Laws in Response to Newtown School Shootings
“My name is Natalie Barden,” the letter reads. “I wanted to tell the President that only police officers and the military should get guns. If people want to do it as a sport then they could go to a shooting range and the guns would not be able to leave there.”
Natalie is 10 years old.
On December 14th, 2012, her 7-year-old brother, Daniel Barden, was one of the 26 people killed by a disturbed gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
On Wednesday, kids who’ve written to the President to voice their concerns about gun violence were invited to the White House.
A news conference on how the President hopes to strengthen the nation’s gun laws, in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy.
According to NBC News, Mister Obama is expected to call for background checks on all gun buyers.
Right now, people who buy guns at gun shows or over the Internet don’t have to go through background checks.
And that can allow guns to get into the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.
The President is also expected to call for a ban on “high capacity magazines.”
(A magazine is a device that stores ammunition. A “high capacity magazine” allows a gunman to fire many times without having to stop and reload his gun.)
And the White House says he’ll push for a new national ban on assault weapons, to replace the ban that expired in 2004.
(According to the ban’s supporters, assault weapons are guns that are made only to kill people – not for hunting or sport.)
In some cases, the White House says the President will be able to use executive orders to toughen gun laws.
Executive orders don’t require permission from Congress.
But the assault-weapons ban — and some of other things he wants — will need congressional approval.
And many Republicans are vowing to fight the President in the name of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
That’s the amendment that says all Americans have the right to “keep and bear arms.”
“Any proposal to abuse executive power and infringe upon gun rights must be repelled with the stiffest legislative force possible,” said a statement from Texas Republican Congressman Steve Stockman, according to a report by NBC.
“Will all of (the gun-control proposals) get through Congress?” the President said at a recent news conference. “I don’t know.”
But according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, 58 percent of all Americans now support a new ban on assault weapons.
And that number has been on the rise since the Newtown shootings.
A friend of the Barden family told CNN that Natalie’s letter was a way to “make Daniel’s life count for something.”
“This was (Natalie’s) little way of making a difference,” said Lillian Bittman, who’s also a former chairwoman of the Newtown Board of Education. “It’s helping her heal.”
Now, the question is, will Congress listen.