In a speech made Wednesday afternoon, President Barack Obama unveiled 23 executive orders — including requiring universal background checks for all gun owners — aimed at curbing gun violence and mass shootings.
Obama also urged Congress to pass a ban on military-style assault weapons and also institute a 10-round limit for ammunition magazines.
“We will make it easier to keep guns out of the hands of criminals by strengthening the background check system,” Obama said. “We will make sure mental health professionals know their options for reporting threats of violence, even as we acknowledge that someone with a mental illness is far more likely to be a victim of violent crime than the perpetrator.”
The specifics of the plan include nominating B. Todd Jones as the director of the U.S. Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms , implementing incentives for states to make it easier to share background checks and issuing a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement agencies to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
Taj Magruder , administrative vice president for the Penn State College Democrats , said he “absolutely supports” the President’s agenda.
“I think an assault weapons ban and universal background checks are common sense solutions to the problem of gun violence,” Magruder (senior-political science) said. “We should pursue protecting our children from gun violence.”
Magruder said he doesn’t believe that the proposals Obama presented violated the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
In response to the President’s speech on Wednesday, the National Rifle Association’s CEO and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre released a statement voicing his concerns.
“We look forward to working with Congress on a bi-partisan basis to find real solutions to protecting America’s most valuable asset — our children,” LaPierre said according to the statement. “Attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation. Only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy.”
Anthony Christina , president of the Pennsylvania Federation of College Republicans , said he agrees with the NRA’s statement released earlier in the day.
“[Obama is] trying to circumvent Congress and the Second Amendment which is quite striking,” Christina said. “Americans treasure the second amendment but they also recognize tragedy and I believe they will come together on the right side, whatever that happens to be.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.