WATCH: President Obama Announces Tougher Gun Control Measures
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden spoke at the White House Wednesday morning to lay out proposals to reduce gun violence in America.
The president and vice president were joined on stage by children who wrote letters to Obama in the wake of the tragic Sandy Hook massacre - the shooting that took place in Newtown, Conn., in December in which 20 children and six adults lost their lives.
President Obama began his speech by reading letters from children who wrote to him to urge him to implement stricter gun laws.
He stressed that there have been 900 gun-related deaths in the last month. “If there’s even one thing we can do to reduce this violence, if there’s even one life that can be saved, then we’ve got an obligation to try,” he said.
The president said that as soon as he finished speaking, he would sign a directive giving law enforcement, mental health officials and the public health community the tools they need to help reduce gun violence.
His proposals include strengthening the background check system, helping schools hire more resource officers, developing emergency preparedness systems, and making sure mental health officials know their options for reporting threats of violence. Read the full list of executive actions.
The president called on members of Congress to act by passing proposals including requiring a universal background check for anyone trying to buy a gun, and restoring a ban on military-style assault weapons and a 10-round limit for magazines.
Obama cited the Aurora movie theater massacre, saying, “Weapons designed for the theater of war have no place in a movie theater.”
After an ad by the NRA that called out the president for sending his daughters to a school where they enjoy armed protection, Obama noted that there will be a lot of opposition to his proposals.
"This will be difficult," said Obama.
"There will be pundits and politicians and special interest lobbyists publicly warning of the tyrannical all out assault on liberty. Not because that’s true. But because they want to gin up fear or higher ratings or revenue for themselves. And behind the scenes they’ll do everything they can to block any common sense reform and make sure nothing changes whatsoever. The only way we will be able to change is if their audience, their constituents, their membership says this time must be different. That this time we must do something to protect our communities and our kids. I will put everything I’ve got into this and so will Joe. But I tell you, the only way we can change is if the American people demand it."
Read the transcript of their remarks, here.