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%. [ applause ]
>> meanwhile, since missouri repealed a law requiring comprehensive background checks and purchase permits, gun deaths have increased to almost 50% higher than the national average. one study found unsurprisingly that criminals in missouri now have easier access to guns. and the evidence tells us in states that require background checks law-abiding americans don't find it any harder to purchase guns whatsoever. their rights have not been infringed, and that's just the information we have access to. with more research we could further improve gun safety, just as with more research we have reduced traffic fatalities enormously over the last 30 years. we do rear is when cars, food,
medicine, even toys harm people, so that we make them safer. and research, science, those are good things, they work. [ laughter ] [ applause ] >> they do. [ applause ] >> but think about this, when it comes to an inherently deadly weapon, a -- nobody argues that guns are potentially deadly, weapons that kill tens of thousands of americans every year, congress voted to make it harder for public health experts to conduct research into gun violence. made it harder to collect data and facts. and develop strategies to reduce gun violence. even after san bernardino they refused to make it harder for
terror suspects, who can't get on a plane, to buy semi automatic weapons. that's not right. [ laughter ] >> that can't be right. so the gun lobby may be holding congress hostage right now, but they cannot hold america hostage. we do not have to accept this carnage as the price of freedom. [ applause ]
>> now i want to be clear, congress still needs to act. the folks in this room will not rest until congress does. [ cheers and applause ] >> because once congress gets on board with common sense gun safety measures, we can reduce gun violence a whole lot more. but we also can't wait. until we have a congress that's in line with the majority of americans, there are actions within my legal authority that we can take to help reduce gun violence and save more lives. actions that protect our rights and our kids. after sandy hook, joe and i worked together with our teams and we put forward a whole
series of executive actions, to try to tighten up the existing rules and systems that we had in place. but today we want to take it a step further. so let me outline what we're going to be doing. number one, anybody in the business of selling firearms must get a license and conduct background checks or be subject to criminal prosecutions. [ cheers and applause ] >> it doesn't matter whether you are doing it over the internet or at a gun show, it's not where you do it, but what you do. we're also expanding background checks to cover violent criminals, who try to buy some
of the most dangerous firearms by hiding behind trusts and corporations and various cutouts. we're also taking steps to make the background check system more efficient. under the guidance of jim comey, and the fbi, our deputy director, tom brandon, at atf, we're going to hire more folks to process applications faster, and we're going to bring an outdated background check system into the 21st system. [ applause ] >> and these steps will actually lead to a smother process for law-abiding gun owners, a smother process for responsible gun dealers, a stronger process for protecting the public from dangerous people. so that's number one. number two, we're going to do everything we can to ensure the
smart and effective enforcement of gun safety laws that are already on the books, which means we're going to add 200 more atf agents and investigators. we're going to require dealers to report more lost or stolen guns on a timely basis. we're working with advocate to protect victims of domestic abuse from gun violence. [ cheers and applause ] >> where too often -- [ applause ] >> where too often people are not getting the protection that they need. number three, we're going to do more to help those suffering from mental illness get the help that they need. [ cheers and applause ] >> so high-profile mass shootings tend to shine a light on those few mentally unstable people who inflict harmon others, but nearly two in three gun deaths are from suicides.
so a lot of our work is to prevent people from hurting themselves. that's why we made sure that the affordable care act, also known as obamacare. [ laughter ] [ applause ] >> finally -- under -- that law made sure that treatment for mental health was covered the same as treatment for any other illness. [ applause ] >> and that's why we are going to investment $500 million to expand access to treatment across the country. [ applause ] >> it's also why we're going to ensure that federal mental health records are submitted to the background check system, and remove barriers. if we can expand the system, we
can spare more families the suffering from the loss of family members from suicide. and here is your chance to support these efforts. put your money where your mouth is. [ applause ] >> number four, we're going to boost gun safety technology. today many gun injuries and deaths are the result of illegal guns that were stolen, or misused or discharged accidentally. more than 500 people lost their lives to gun accidents in 2014. the greatest most technologically advanced nation on earth, there is no reason for this. we need to develop new technologies that make guns safer. if we can set it up so you can't unlock your phone unless you got
the right fingerprint, why didn't we do the same thing for our guns? [ cheers and applause ] >> if there is an app that can help us find a missing tablet, which happens to me often, the older i get -- [ laughter ] >> if we can do it for your ipad, there's no reason we can't do it with a stolen gun. if a child can't open a bottle of aspirin, we should make sure that they can't pull a trigger on a gun. [ cheers and applause ] >> so we're going to advance research. we're going to work with the private sector to update
firearm's technology. some gun retailers are already stepping up, but refusing to finalize a purchase without a background check or by refraining from selling semiautomatic weapons, or high capacity magazines, and i hope more retailers and manufacturers join them, because they should care as much as anybody about a product that kills almost as many americans as car accidents. i make this point because none of us can do this alone. i think mark made that point earlier. all of us should be able to work together to find a balance that decla declares the rest of our rights are also important. second amendment rights are important, but there are other rights that we care about as well. and we have to be able to balance it. because our right to worship
freely and safely -- [ applause ] >> -- that right was denied to christians in charleston, south carolina, and that was denied jews in kansas city, and muslims in chapel hill, and sikhs in oak creek. they had rights too. [ applause ] >> our right to peaceful assembly that right was robbed from movie goers in aurora and lafayette. our right to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness, those rights were stripped from college kids in santa barbara, and from high schoolers at columbine. and -- and from first graders in
new town. first graders. and from every family who -- who never imagined that their loved one would be taken from our lives by a bullet from a gun. every time i think about those kids, it gets me mad. and by the way, it happens on the streets of chicago every day. [ applause ] >> so all of us need to demand a congress brave enough to stand
up to the gun lobbies lies. all of us need to stand up and protect itself citizens. all of us need to demand governors, and legislators, and businesses do their part to make our communities safer. we need the wide majority of responsible gun owners who grieve with us every time this happens, and feel like your views are not being properly represented to join with us to demand something better. [ applause ] >> and we need voters who want safer gun laws and who are disappointed in leaders who stand in their way to remember come election time. [ cheers and applause ]
i mean some of this is just simple math. yes, the gun lobby is loud, and it is organized in defense of making it effortless for guns to be available for anybody any time. well, you know what, the rest of us -- we all have to be just as passionate. we have to be just as organized in defense of our kids. this is not that complicated. the reason congress blocks laws is because they want to win elections. and if you make it hard for them to win an election, if they block those laws, they will change course, i promise you. [ applause ]
>> and yes, it will be hard. and it won't happen overnight. it won't happen during this congress. it won't happen during my presidency. but a lot of things don't happen overnight. a woman's right to vote didn't happen overnight. liberation of african americans didn't happen overnight. lgbt rights, that's decade's worth of work. so just because it's hard, that's no excuse not to try. and if you have any doubt as to why you should feel that fierce
urgency of now, think about what happened three weeks ago. a sophomore at fulton high school in knoxville, tennessee. he played football, beloved by his classmates and his teachers. his own mayor called him one of their city's success stories. the week before christmas he headed to a friend's house to play video games. he wasn't in the wrong place at the wrong time. he was exactly where any other kid would be, your kid, my kids, and then gunmen started firing. and the boy, who was in high school hadn't even gotten started in life, dove on top of three girls to shield them from
the bullets. and he was shot in the head. and the girls were spared. he gave his life to save theirs. an act of heroism, a lot bigger than anything we should ever expect from a 15 year old. greater love hath no man than this, than a man who lay down his life for his friends. we are not asked to do what mr. dobson did. we're not asked to have shoulders that big, a heart that strong, reactions that quick. i'm not asking people to have that same level of courage or sacrifice or love. but if we love our kids and care about their prospects, and if we
love this country and care about its future, and we can find the courage to vote, we can find the courage to get mobilized and organized. we can find the courage to cut through all of the noise and do what a sensible country would do. that's what we're doing today and tomorrow we should do more, and we should do more the day after that, and if we do, we'll leave behind a nation that's stronger than the one we inherited and worthy of the sacrifice of a young man like mr. dobson. [ applause ] >> thank you very much everybody. god bless you. thank you. >> that is the president of the united states doing what he has been saying he would do for quite sometime now. announcing his executive steps that he plans on taking to curb the issue of gun violence in this country. four steps he outlined the first
telling the audience anybody selling firearms must get a license or face criminal prosecution. he says they are also going to do everything and anything they can do to enforce the laws on the books, and he says that he will be calling for adding 200 more atf agents, though it will be up to congress to fund those agents. he also says he will do more to help those suffering from mental illness, and finally, boosting gun-safety technology. and then there was the emotional side of the president when it came to the issue of a number of children he said who have died at the hands of a gun. he was talking about new town, connecticut, he also pointed out something that those in the crowd know all too well, it happens every day on the streets of america. mike viqueira an emotional side of the president that we have not seen because he did have, let's be realistic, no drama, obama, but today the tears flowed and they flowed freely.
>> i think that's remarkable. i think that will be an indelible moment that people will talk about for sometime. i can't remember immediately an incident where the president did choke up like that. the tears literally rolling down his cheeks talking about sandy hook, talking about what happened in new town. inside that room, you know, you could see that -- he was surrounded by the families of many of the victims, many shooting victims themselves, most prominently, of course, gabby giffords, many people holding up photographs of their loved ones who were killed by gun violence, and the president certainly feeling the emotion in the room, culminating in that moment that he literally sobbed, while talking about what happened in new town. there is a tell prompter in the room, i don't think the president adhered to it very closely. talking about -- contrasting the argument that everyone has a right to own a gun that's put
forward by the nra, and the president himself acknowledging that the second amendment does indeed say that, but then talking about the rights of peaceful assembly, the rights of people in aurora, colorado, taking in a movie without being shot at or murdered. in minnesota with the sikh community was attacked. in charleston where nine church goers were killed at a bible study meeting. so the president very animated and an audience that was obviously very receptive to his message. he said as recently as this summer in the wake of another horrific killing, that this was the most frustrating issue he has faced in his seven years in office, his inability to push through gun-control measures. again, getting very emotional talking about sandy hook. let's have another look at that moment. >> and -- and from first graders
in new town, first graders. and from every family who -- who never imagined that their loved one would be taken from our lives by a bullet from a gun. every time i think about those kids, it gets me mad. >> reporter: a visceral reaction from the president. we saw it when he appeared in the briefing room after a recent shooting, hitting many of those same things, saying i'm tired of saying the right thing. i'm tired of coming out here and talking about thoughts and prayers. it's time for action.
now these executive action go into effect immediately del. >> and what will be the reaction in washington, as you know every word that a president makes, every comment he speaks weighed and some type of political calculus when he has talked about guns in the past, but emotions are very real, the tears were very real, this was an indication that this issue was personal. >> reporter: you make a good point. polling on gun control is all over the map. depending on whatever you are looking for in terms of your own confirmation, you can find it. there are polls that recently show in the wake of the san bernardino attacks for example, that more americans now oppose restrictions on assault weapons. in the first time in the history of this particular poll.
on the other hand, the pew center finds that 85% favor some any -- new restrictions on guns. any kind of restriction -- if you have that word in the polling, people react negatively, but when you talk about gun safety, then you get a completely different result. so the president -- i think he feels like he is on firm political ground here. but there is something in here -- this is where people retrench. there is no middle ground. we saw a statement as the president was speaking from paul ryan, just eviscerating the president's stance. saying it is a violation. grab at guns. the president responding to that comment directly here, but the battle lines are drawn here to probably use an unfortunate analogy, but it's very clear where everybody stands in a republican primary season that we're in now, where g.o.p. are
trying to gain support from primary voter which are the most passionate and active, but there's no question about where they need to stake their claim on the republican side and the democratic side as well. bernie sanders of course has advocated gun rights in the past being from vermont, even he now is talking about supporting what the president is going forward with as of course is hillary clinton as we heard before the president spoke. so as a political matter, there is something in here for everyone. it's unlikely anybody's mriend be changed here in washington or on the campaign trail, notwithstanding that emotional speech the president just delivered. >> i'm going to ask a question of our political consultant and former advisor to chuck schumer. michael there are political calculations on both sides of
the aisle. but i go back to hillary clinton somebody that was always viewed as being almost robotic in the way she would respond to issues, but when she got to new hampshire, and she choked up, and it became real to the voters that she wanted to win because she wanted to govern, it moved the meter. >> right. >> undoubtedly every new casts will show that emotional obama bite. will he be able to move the meter? >> i think he will in terms of the conversation, but it is not going to move votes in the house or change the rhetoric of the g.o.p. presidential hopefuls. >> why not? >> it's a consequence of our politics, because the house for example, there are just a handful of seats that switch. and as mike said in washington it's a consequence of highly
organized republican primary winners that get to threaten incumbent members of congress, and in some cases u.s. senators with primary elections. in their cases the base is very much about the nra and the second amendment. >> this was the question i was going to ask you before the president talked. we talk about the power of nra, i point out to people it is less than 20 miles outside of the center of washington, and yet there are never protests there. what is it about the nra? what do they do behind the scenes that makes them so powerful on this issue of gun rights? >> it is effective when you are highly organized around a single issue. you have one issue, one litmus test, one message. you are organized. you know where your people are, and you are able motivate them
in republican primary elections. that is their strength. and it resinates with a lot of conservative and far-right radio talk shows, web-based news apps, and internet mail lists, and it's all about a single issue. there's no four-point plan they have to defend, and they only have to say no. they are not for anything. they are against something. >> mike viqueira i asked michaeled toman this question as we were going to the president, and we addressed it, i also want to get your thoughts on it. when we talk about the nra, we are talking about a group that has gone face-to-face on both sides of the political isles. there was jim brady, under ronald reagan that baston on the right, and after he was shot, he became the enemy as opposed to the person that was their friend. >> reporter: you are right. and as the president pointed out
even the nra's position has evolved over the years. at one point they were in favor of some limited background checks. and even ronald reagan was pushing forward on something that would be opposed by the nra today. michael made a great point. the polarlization, the lack of middle ground, the fact that only the most motivated and richest individuals are showing up on election day gives elected officials here in washington very little incentive to actually reach across the ailes into the middle ground. this is a hot button issue for many that will bring them to the polls, and motivate them to open their wallets