in 1967, since then technology has changed almost beyond recognition. who can say what the next 49 years will bring. rob reynolds, al jazeera, las vegas. plenty more for you any time on our website. the address for that is aljazeera.com. ♪ it will potentially save lives in this country. >> president obama moving to tighten gun-control laws. he says he will do so without congress. >> many my first day in office they are gone. while g.o.p. presidential hopefuls promise to repeal any executive orders if they are given a chance. and the oregon occupation is
in its fourth day. and investors are hoping for the markets to turn around today. we are going to begin with breaking news coming out of afghanistan at this hour. an american soldier has been killed two others injured in hellmann province today. according to reports, american special ops came under attack. it happened during a counter terrorism effort in that region. a medevac helicopter was grounded because of mechanical problems. we'll have more on this story as it develops. this is al jazeera america live in new york city. i'm del walters. we are awaiting the president to speak at this hour. the president expected to announce executive action on gun control. mike viqueira is live at the white house, and mike, what exactly do you expect this announcement to entail? and how much can the president
accomplish? >> reporter: well, that's a great question, how much can the president accomplish, because a lot of people look at this, and say it's a crackdown on the private sales of guns. something advocates for gun control have been calling on for a long time. what the president is doing ultimately here is cracking down on those private sales. a great deal of concern now that many gun sales are being transacted at flee markets, gun shows, you probably heard of the gun show loophole and especially and increasingly over the internet. those people who guy guns in that manner through these private sales do not have to undergo a background check. so what the administration is doing, how they are getting at that problem, is requiring more gun dealers, to license themselves as gun dealers.
therefore anybody that they sell a gun to is going to have to undergo this background check. it's unclear whether this is going to save lives, or would have saved many lives as some of the high-profile shootings that have illicited the president's response. the president says if they can save one or two lives, that's what they are after. as far as the high-profile provisions you have heard of before, such as an assault weapon's ban, this doesn't touch that. gun-control advocates say that is not something they are concerned with. they are shifting their focus away from that. the background checks are their focus. he is speaking to an east room full of gun-control advocates, including many victim's families.
including the parents of alison parker, the reporter that was tragically killed on live television a short time ago, as well as families from around the country, the virginia tech shooting, are going to be there today, del. >> they are standing right now. that is former congresswoman gabby giffords who was in the east room. you can see her right there, if you peer behind that gentlemen's head. that is her husband. always the astronaut, his brother, is in space right now. but what are the limitations the president is going to be facing? >> first of all, it's interesting how they are doing this, they are updating guidance to legislative or administrative rule. they could have gone a longer route and issued a regulation, which probably would have been more binding. the problem with that is there
is a process that would have likely taken us past the term in office. they are updating the guidance now. and that takes effect immediately. who will be affected? gun serls who engage in private sales, a bergening industry on the internet. many advocates of gun control will tell you. and what is the threshold. how do you become a seller? if you are selling a gun for profit, that's company the white house says law enforcement will come after you. and he wants to hire 200 new atf agents and investigators to keep track of those sales. and may be a kink, because to do that he needs funding from congress. he is calling for $500 million, and another area, increased access to mental health, congress is going to have to approve all of this money, and it's questionable whether they will do so.
>> mike stand by, these are gun control advocates waiting to hear the president. this is a campaign issue, the presidential candidates have been speaking out about any planned executive action by the president. donald trump told cbs's face the nation that the one good thing about executive orders, is the new president if he comes in, boom, first hour, first minute, you can resend them. >> the new executive orders that the president is going to put in place, on my first day of office, they are gone. >> lisa stark is following the clinton campaign. and what has hillary clinton had to say? >> reporter: it's interesting, because when she ran for president eight years ago, she boasted shooting guns, saying her dad took her out when she was a little girl and taught her how to shoot a gun.
a very different tone this time around. she is coming out very strongly in favor of gun control, and saying why can't anyone stand up to the nra. and yesterday she said she supports the president's executive action on expanding background checks. here is what she had to say. >> i'm very pleased that president obama will be taking action in the next week or two, to tighten the background checks under his executive authority. it's really important. i have said we need comprehensive background checks. we need to close the gun show loophole. close what is called the charleston loophole, and the blanket immunity from liability that gun makers and sellers have. >> reporter: and i should point out her chief opponent, bernie sanders has a more mixed record on gun control, but he says he also supports this action by president clinton -- excuse me,
i'm a little ahead of myself there -- but president obama, saying he would prefer congress -- since the republicans won't act, he is going to support the president's move. and this is somewhat popular. there with a quinnipiac university poll last month which indicated that 85% of people support expanded background checks and that includes even gun owners, so the fact that the president wants to expand background checks, at least is not that controversial, of course the way he is doing it, that's another issue. >> lisa thank you very much. the clinton, campaign, by the way, is smiling. we are awaiting the president. he will be officially announcing those executive actions, trying to reign in gun control. we're going to take a quick break. stay with us. ♪
>> as a nation we have to do better. we are better. >> this is one of the father's of the sandy hook school victims. mike viqueira, the president will be speaking in just a moment, but first of all, before he does, in about 20 seconds, so that i don't have to cut you off for the president, your thoughts on the success that he may be able to achieve today. >> reporter: well, again, i'm struck by this individual here. mark bardon is his name. he is the managing director of a group called sandy hook violence. they marched the halls of congress demanding that something be done for gun control, that legislation be passed, that the assault weapons
ban which has lapsed, expanded background checks, that it be passed by congress. it collapsed. gun control has been seen as a political loser in washington ever since the brady act was passed in the early '90s, and other gun-control legislation. these individuals mark bardon, those who suffered so horribly, were bitterly disappointed, as you can imagine. this day, perhaps a day bit of vindication for them. but this is very small considering what they were asking for. nevertheless this is something that they have insisted that the president push for, asking for executive action in the wake of sandy hook. the president commissioned a group to look at what could be
done outside of congress. that effort went absolutely nowhere. even though the recommendations were put forward, many of those recommendations being adopted today in this presidential action, del. >> mike, stand boy. we are joined? studio, by an advisor to senator chuck schumer. this is partisan, and in some senses it is, but 87% of the american public say they want something to be done over the issue of guns, and also when we talk about the brady bill. james brady was the secretary under then president reagan. >> it is highly partisan, but it is also that congress has been unable or unwilling to act. so if the president decides to do something by executive action, one measure of judicial review will be why hasn't congress been doing anything? and it is possible?
so i don't know if the measure is against what could have been done legislatively, but rather nothing at all. >> that is the president coming into the room, so i'm not sure you will be able to answer anything, because we're going to pause for a moment as the president does what he is expected to do, and that is to announce the executive actions he plans on taking regarding the issue of gun control, something he says has been the most frustrating of his presidency. >> thank you. thank you. [ cheers and applause ] >> thank you, everybody. please have a seat. thank you. thank you, everybody. [ cheers and applause ] >> thank you. thank you, everybody. please. please, have a seat. thank you so much. mark i want to thank you for your introduction.
i still remember the first time we met, the time we spent together, and the conversation we had about daniel. and that changed me, that day. and my hope earnestly has been that it would change the country. five years ago this week, a sitting member of congress, and 18 others were shot at, at a supermarket in tucson, arizona. it wasn't the first time i had to talk to the nation in response to a mass shooting, nor would it be the last. fort hood, bingington, aurora, oak creek, new town, the navy
yard, san bernardino, charleston, santa barbara. two many. >> too many. >> too many. >> and thanks to a great medical team and the love of her husband mark, my dear friend and colleague, gabby giffords survived. she is here with us today with her wonderful mom. [ applause ] >> this is thanks to a great medical team, her wonderful husband mark, who by the way, the last time i met with mark -- this is just a small aside. you may know mark's twin brother
is in outer space. [ laughter ] >> he came to the office, and i said how often are you talking to him? and he said i usually talk to him every day, but the call was coming in right before the meeting, so i think i may have not answered his call. [ laughter ] >> which made me feel kind of bad. [ laughter ] >> that's a long distance call. [ laughter ] >> so i told him, if his brother scott is calling today, that he should take it. [ laughter ] >> turn the ringer on. [ laughter ] >> i was there with gabby when she was still in the hospital. and we didn't think, necessarily at that point that she was going to survive. and that visit right before
memorial about an hour later, gabby first opened her eyes. i remember talking to mom about that. [ laughter ] >> but i know the pain that she and her family have endured these past five years. and the rehabilitation, the work, and the effort to recover from -- from shattering injuries. and then i think of all of the americans who aren't as fortunate. every single year, more than 30,000 americans have their lives cut short by guns.
30,000. suicides, domestic violence, gang shootouts, accidents. hundreds of thousands of americans have lost brothers and sisters. or buried their own children. many have had to learn to live with a disability. or learn to live without the love of their life. a number of those people are here today. they can tell you some stories. in this room right here, there are a lot of stories. there is a lot of heart ache. there's a lot of resilience. there is a lot of strength. but there is also a lot of pain. and this is just a small
sampling. the united states of america is not the only country on earth with violent or dangerous people. we are not inherently more prone to violence. but we are the only advanced country on earth that sees this kind of mass violence erupt with this kind of frequency. it doesn't happen in other advanced countries. not even close. and as i have said before, somehow we become numb to it, and we start thinking that this is normal.
and instead of thinking about how to solve the problem, this has become one of our most polarized partisan debates. despite the fact that there's a general consensus in america about what needs to be done. that's part of the reason why on thursday i'm going to hold a townhall meeting in virginia on gun violence. because my goal here is to bring good people on both sides of this issue together for an open discussion. i'm not on the ballot again. i'm not looking to score some points. i think we can disagree without impugning other people's motives or without being disagreeable. we don't need to talk past one another, but we do have to feel a sense of urgency about it.
in dr. king's words we need to feel the fierce urgency of now, because people are dying, and the constant excuses for inaction no longer do. no longer suffice. that's why we're here today. not to debate the last mass shooting, but to do something to try to prevent the next one. [ applause ] >> to prove that the vast majority of americans, even if our voices aren't always the
loudest or most extreme, care enough about a little boy like daniel to come together and take common-sense steps to save lives and protect more of our children. now i want to be absolutely clear at the start. i have said this over and over again. this also becomes routine. there's a ritual about this whole thing that i have to do. i believe in the second amendment. it's their written on the paper. it guarantees a right to bare arms, no matter how many times people try to twist my words around. i taught constitutional law. i know a little bit about this. [ laughter ] [ applause ] >> i -- i get it. but i also believe that we can
find ways to reduce gun violence consistent with the second amendment. i mean think about it, we all believe in the first amendment, the guarantee of free speech, but we -- we accept that you can't yell fire in a theater. we understand there's some constraints on our freedom in order to protect innocent people. we cherish our right to privacy, but we accept that you have to go through metal detectors before being allowed to board a plane. it's not because people like doing that, but we understand that that's part of the price of living in a civilized society. and what is often ignored in
this debate is the majority of gun owners actually agree. a majority of gun owners agree we can respect the second amendment, while keeping anner responsible law-breaking few from inflicting harmon a massive scale. today background checks are required at gun stores. if a father wants to teach his daughter how to hunt, he can walk into a gun store, get a background check, purchase his weapon safe and responsibly. this is not seen as an infringement on the second amendment. contrary to the claims of what some gun rights proponents have suggested this hasn't been the first step in some slippery slope to mass confiscation. contrary to claims of some
presidential candidates apparently before this meeting -- [ laughter ] >> -- this is not a plot to take away everybody's guns. you pass a background check. you purchase a firearm. the problem is some gun sellers have been operating under a different set of rules. a violent felon can buy the exact same weapon over the internet with no background check. recent studies found about one in 30 people looking to buy guns on one website had criminal records. one in 30 had criminal records, we're talking about violent crimes, people with lengthy criminal histories buying deadly weapons all too easily. and this is just one website within the span of a few months.
so we've created a system in which dangerous people are allowed to play by a different set of rules than a responsible gun owner who buys his or her gun the right way and subjects themselves to a background check. that doesn't make sense. everybody should have to abide by the same rules. most americans and gun owners agree. and that's what we tried to change three years ago, after 26 americans, including 20 children, were murdered at sandy hook elementary. two united states senators, joe manchin, a democrat, from west virginia, and pat toomey, a republican from pennsylvania, both gun owners, both with a grades from the nra -- that's hard to get -- worked together
in good faith consulting with folks like our vice president, who has been a champion on this for a long time, to write a common sense compromise bill that would have required virtually everyone who buys a gun to get a background check. 90% of americans supported that idea. 90% of democrats in the senate voted for that idea. but it failed. because 90% of republicans in the senate voted against that idea. how did this become such a partisan issue? republican president george w. bush once said, i believe in background checks at gun shows or anywhere to make sure that guns don't get into the hands of people that should haven't them. senator john mccain introduced a
bipartisan measure to address the gun show loophole, saying criminal and terrorists are exploiting this very obvious loophole in our gun-safety laws. even the nra used to support expanded background checks. [ laughter ] >> and by the way, most of its members still do. most republican voters still do. how did we get here? how did we get to the place where people think requiring a comprehensive background check means taking away people's guns? each time this comes up, but are med the excuse that common-sense reforms like background checks might not have stopped the last mi -- massacre, or the one before that, or the one before that, so why bother trying?
i reject that thinking. [ applause ] we know we can't stop every act of violence, every act of evil in the world. but maybe we could try to stop one act of evil. one act of violence. some of you may recall at the same time that sandy hook happened, a -- a disturbed person in china took a knife and tried to kill with a knife a bunch of children in china. but most of them survived, because he didn't have access to a powerful weapon.
we maybe can't save everybody. but we could save some. just as we don't prevent all traffic accidents, but we take steps to try to reduce traffic accidents. as ronald reagan once said, if mandatory background checks could save more lives, it would be well worth making it the law of the land. the bill before congress three years ago met that test. unfortunately, too many senators failed theirs. [ applause ] >> in fact, we know that background checks make a difference. after connecticut passed a law requiring background checks and gun-safety courses, gun deaths decreased by 40%. 40%.