President Obama Is Taking Gun Control Seriously With New Regulations. Hear Them In His Own Tearful Words (Video)

Earlier today, President Obama outlined his new executive actions on gun control, putting into motion one of the most aggressive plans to curb the frequency with which Americans are killed by gun violence in recent memory. In his speech, he stated his explicit support for the 2nd amendment, which gives us the right to bear arms. However, he made it explicitly clear that it is possible to reduce the number of mass shootings and related crimes while also respecting our constitutional rights. For example, he said, we all recognize the first amendment which gives us the right of free speech, but we also know not to yell “fire” in a movie theater. We all appreciate the right to privacy, but we all respect having to go through metal detectors at times. He also expressed his acknowledgment that stopping every act of violence is impossible, but preventing a few instances is a worthy and noble cause. As he stated, “we don’t prevent all traffic accidents, but we take measures to prevent many.” He then proceeded to lay out four major initiatives, paraphrased below.

1) Background checks: Anybody in the business of selling firearms must get a license and conduct background checks or be subject to federal prosecution. There will also be measures expanding background checks of those who try to purchase the most dangerous weapons, such as automatic rifles. Lastly, steps will be taken to make the current background check system more efficient with the help of FBI and ATF, which will involve hiring more folks to process applications in an effort to bring our outdated background check system into 21st century.

2) Smart and effective enforcement of laws already on books: Addressing the laws we already have in place and ensuring they are being properly adhered to and enforced. Things like adding hundreds of more ATF agents and investigators and requiring firearms dealers to report lost or stolen guns will be some of the steps taken.

3) Mental illness and protection of victims: This expansive plan will aim to better help those suffering from mental illness to get the help they need. The United States will pledge $500 million to expand access to treatment across the country. Federal mental health records will be submitted to the background check system. Furthermore, we will work with advocates to protect victims of abuse and gun violence, as too often people victimized by dangerous offenders are not getting protection they need. Obama asked those who repeatedly blame mental illness for mass gun violence to  “put your money where your mouth is” and support the measures herein.

4) Boost gun safety technology: President Obama referenced modern-day smartphone technology and asked why the same measures can’t be taken with guns. “You can’t turn on your phone unless you have the right fingerprint; why can’t we do that with our guns?” he asked. “If there’s an app to find a missing tablet, 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 they can’t pull a trigger on a gun.” In an effort to promote such technological progress, there will be efforts made to advance research and to work with the private sector to update technology.

In a powerfully moving moment, President Obama wiped away a tear when discussing the first graders who lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary at the hands of a disturbed gunman. That senseless violence, is something we must address with urgency. “And by the way, it happens on the streets of Chicago every day,” the former Illinois senator and longtime Chicago resident added, tearfully. President Obama closed his speech with a contemporary example of gun violence, one that took place only three weeks ago and took the life of a heroic teenager.

“[Enacting these measures] won’t happen during this Congress, it won’t happen during my presidency. A woman’s right to vote didn’t happen overnight. the liberation of African Americans didn’t happen overnight. LGBT rights, that took decades worth of work. Just ’cause it’s hard, that’s no excuse not to try. And if you need a reminder of why there is a need for a sense of urgency, remember something that happened just three weeks ago. Zaevion Dodson, the week before Christmas, headed to a friend’s place to play video games…and then gunmen started firing. and Zaevion, who was in high school, dove on top of three girls to shield them from the bullets. He was shot in the head, 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. We are not asked to do what Zaevion Dodson did. We’re not asked to have shoulders that big, a heart that strong, reactions that quick. We’re not asking people to have that same level of courage. But if we love our kids and care about their prospects, then we can find the courage to vote. We can find the courage to get mobilized. We can find the courage to cut through all the noise and do what a sensible country would do. That’s what we’re doing today, and tomorrow we should do more. And if we do, we’ll leave behind a nation that is stronger than the one we inherited, and one worthy of the sacrifice of a young man liked Zaevion.”

Watch his entire speech below. Please note the video is a live stream, and viewers will need to rewind to view the speech.

Related: Why Are Armed Whites Getting Treated Better than Unarmed Black & Brown Americans?