President Obama set up the first major fight of his second term on Wednesday as he vowed to directly confront gun rights supporters and called on average Americans to back him in his bid to limit ammunition and semi-automatic firearms sales, expand background checks to all gun purchases and encourage doctors to ask certain patients whether they own guns.
Speaking little more than a month after the shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Mr. Obama unveiled his proposals surrounded by victimsâ€™ families and four children who had written him letters fearing they or their families could be the next targets of gun violence.
â€œThis is our first task as a society, keeping our children safe,â€ Mr. Obama said. â€œThis is how we will be judged. And their voices should compel us to change.
â€œIf thereâ€™s even one thing we can do to reduce this violence, if thereâ€™s even one life we can save, we have an obligation to try it.â€
Mr. Obama signed executive directives with 23 steps that he said his administration can take without action by Congress, including better information-sharing among federal agencies, educating gun owners on safety and assuring doctors that they can legally ask patients whether they own firearms.
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