President Obama delivered an address on Tuesday (Jan. 4) to announce his new executive action that aims to decrease gun violence in the country. In an attempt to work around Congress’ divisive halt on the matter, Obama is seeking to widen criminal background checks on gun buyers, hire more personnel to conduct the background checks, and generate better tracking of lost firearms, The New York Times reports. Highlight America as the advanced country with the most mass violence, Obama urged everyone to fight for action
“We are the only advanced country on Earth that sees this kind of mass violence erupt with this kind of frequency,” Obama said in his speech. “It doesn’t happen in other advanced countries. It’s not even close.”
Obama also turned emotional when discussing the horrific 2012 shooting of 20 children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Referencing an event that he admitted still plagues him till this day and regarded as the worst moment in his presidency in an interview with GQ, the President wiped away tears as he continued to mourn the loss of the first graders killed that day.
“Everytime I think about those kids, it gets me mad,” he said while trying to gather himself. “And by the way, it happens on the streets of Chicago everyday. So all of us need to demand a Congress brave enough to stand up to the gun lobby’s lies.”
Stacking gun enthusiasts beloved Second Amendment against other rights afforded to American citizens, Obama also pointed to the 2015 mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado as the stripping of the right to peaceful assembly, as well as the murdering of nine churchgoers at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston as the robbing of the right to worship freely.
“There are other rights that we care about, as well, and we have to be able to balance them. Because our right to worship freely and safely — that right was denied to Christians in Charleston, S.C.; and that was denied Jews in Kansas City; and that was denied Muslims in Chapel Hill, and Sikhs in Oak Creek. They had rights, too.”
Following the speech, Obama’s Republican opponents vowed to continue to champion the right to bear arms. Watch a clip of the President’s emotional speech below: