Charleston mayor supports President Obama’s proposals to reduce gun violence
President Barack Obama announced proposals Wednesday that he said will help limit gun violence in the wake of the deadly shooting of school children in Newtown, Conn.
Obama said at a news conference at the White House that his legislative proposals will pass “if the American people demand it.”
Charleston mayor Joseph Riley, Jr. demands it. Riley announced his strong support hours after Obama’s conference.
“The level of gun violence in our country is a national tragedy,” Riley said in a statement released by media relations for City of Charleston. “President Obama has recommended prudent, common-sense steps that must be taken right away, and I urge Congress and certainly the members of the South Carolina Congressional Delegation to support the president’s recommendations.”
Among Obama’s key points were: banning “military-style” assault weapons, limiting ammunition magazines to 10 rounds, increasing penalties toward gun traffickers and requiring universal criminal background checks on all gun sales.
The package is estimated at costing $500 million and includes 23 executive actions to bypass a divided Congress. Those actions include ordering federal agencies to make data more readily available for background checks, getting the Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence and appointing a director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
“Assault weapons are not sporting weapons,” Riley said. “They are not needed for protecting our homes or for self-defense, and conversely, when they get in the hands of deranged or hate-filled people, they become tools of mass murder.”
Like Obama, Riley appealed directly to the shooting spree at Sandy Hook Elementary School. “We owe it to the children and families in Newtown, Conn. and to the children and families in our city and every community in America to pass these common-sense measures as soon as possible.”
Melanie Epps Murray said efforts should be directed toward mental health care, not restrictions on guns. “The real issue is mental health care and it not being available,” Murray commented on the Moultrie News Facebook page.
“We still have cocaine, heroin and other illegal substances, despite our laws,” she wrote. “Fix our mental health care and you will go a long way at actually resolving the real problem – the people behind the guns with mental health issues, not the guns themselves.”
Robin Mann agreed that mental health is an issue that needs to be addressed, but went farther to say so is gun control. She quoted former president Ronald Reagan in 1994 regarding a proposed assault weapons ban.
Reagan supported the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, also know as the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act, which was signed into law by Bill Clinton, who was president at the time. It included a 10-year ban on the manufacture for civilian use of assault weapons. It expired in 2004 without renewal.
“We, as a people, do not need access to weapons that can kill a mass of people in a matter of minutes,” Mann commented on the Moultrie News Facebook page. “Yes, they can create bombs, so we do need mental health care and we can control assault weapons; therefore, we need to do so.”
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