A day after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed New York’s groundbreaking gun legislation (Cuomo followed that with a ceremonial signing of the legislation at Rochester City Hall this morning), President Obama unveiled his own recommendations for reducing gun violence in America. He made three main recommendations to Congress.
Topping his list is enacting universal background checks for people purchasing guns. Currently, as many as 40 percent of the guns purchased in the US are sold without background checks, he said.
“You should at least have to show that you’re not a felon,” Obama said.
His second recommendation is to restore the ban on assault weapons with high-capacity magazines. Obama referred to a similar request President Ronald Reagan made in a letter to Congress in 1994.
Third, Obama asked Congress to crack down on people who buy guns for the purpose of getting them into the hands of criminals — so called "straw man" purchases.
The president also spoke about funding research into the study of violent video games and their link to behavior.
“We don’t benefit from ignorance,” Obama said.
And he recommended putting more police on the street and in city neighborhoods.
The relatively short speech was an appeal to the American public to not let the momentum for change slip away. The only way Congress will act is if the American public demands it, Obama said.
And he tried to chip away at the bedrock argument concerning the Second Amendment, acknowledging that Americans have the right to bear arms.
“With rights come responsibilities,” Obama said. “We don’t live in isolation. We live in a society.”