WASHINGTON (AP) President Barack Obama is emphasizing the need for more background checks for gun buyers in his State of the Union address, saying that overwhelming majorities of Americans favor the proposal as a way to keep firearms from criminals.
Obama said Tuesday night that senators from both parties are working on legislation to prevent people from legally buying guns and then giving them to criminals.
He said police chiefs want lawmakers to ban ``weapons of war'' and magazines carrying large amounts of ammunition so law enforcement officers won't be outgunned.
The president proposed all those ideas after the December killings of 20 first-graders in Connecticut. But expanded background checks is the only one he described as having vast support a description that matches public polling and reflects congressional sentiment too.
4th District Congressman Jim Himes says he was pleased the President focused on the real long-term drivers of jobs: improving our infrastructure and education and fostering innovation. He says improving opportunity throughout the country will make everyone better off. He also appreciated that the President addressed the critical issues of gun violence prevention and voting rights, two areas experienced first hand in the Fourth District. Until every child can walk to school safely and every citizen can vote in an easy and timely manner, Himes says we will not have fulfilled our promise for a fair and equal democracy.
Senator Chris Murphy had this reaction to the address:
"Congress needed to be challenged to get moving on everything from gun violence to fiscal reform, and the president certainly made that challenge tonight. I'm especially glad he pushed Congress to break down partisan divides and pass common sense gun violence legislation. For those of us in Connecticut, we are still living with the horror of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, but the healing process is helped knowing we have a president who is going to do everything in his power to make sure no community ever has to go through this again. There are no excuses anymore. It's time to pass legislation to keep military-style assault weapons and ammunition off our streets and out of our schools, to impose universal criminal background checks, and to make a real commitment to improving mental health services across this nation.
I applaud the president’s focus on revitalizing our country’s manufacturing sector—something I’ve worked hard on for years. During my time in the House, I pushed the Administration hard to drastically reduce the number of government contracts awarded to overseas companies, and I’ll make closing loopholes and strengthening our Buy American laws a priority in the Senate. I’ll also continue to support policies that focus on investing in vocational education and cutting-edge manufacturing technologies so that the United States, and especially Connecticut, is the most attractive place for the next generation of manufacturers to set up shop."