President Obama Unveils Plan to Curb Gun Violence - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

President Obama Unveils Plan to Curb Gun Violence

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President Barack Obama is announcing a $500 million package of executive actions and legislative proposals aimed at reducing gun violence a month after a mass shooting in Connecticut killed 20 elementary school children.

The package includes a call on Congress to ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazine and it would close loopholes in the gun sale background check system.

Obama also is signing 23 executive actions -- which require no congressional approval -- including several aimed at improving access to data for background checks. A presidential memorandum will instruct the Centers for Disease Control to research causes and prevention of gun violence.

In addition, Obama will nominate Todd Jones as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Jones currently is the acting director of the agency

President Obama is also asking Congress to expand background checks on gun buyers to include private sales and is using his executive authority to increase the information available in data banks in the background check system. The White House calls background checks the most efficient and effective way to keep guns away from dangerous individuals.

Obama wants Congress to close loopholes that permit private gun transactions to occur without background checks. The White House says nearly 40 percent of gun sales are conducted by private individuals now exempt from checking the backgrounds of buyers.

Obama is also ordering federal agencies to make "relevant data" available to the federal background check system and to remove barriers that might prevent states from providing information, particularly mental health data, for background checks.

In a joint statement, representatives of the movie industry, broadcasters and others said they "support the president's goal of reducing gun violence." The statement says they welcome "further academic examination" of these issues.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee says he'll begin hearings in two weeks on gun safety proposals, as President Barack Obama pushes for fast action.

Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont says he envisions a series of hearings examining violence in popular media and how to keep guns safe, among other topics.

Leahy's plan could point to a slower process in Congress than gun control advocates would like a month after the tragic shootings in Newtown, Conn., that killed 26 people, including 20 schoolchildren. The White House sees a need for fast action before memories fade.

Obama is unveiling his proposals at the White House later Wednesday to ban assault weapons and require universal background checks.

Leahy, a gun owner, spoke Wednesday morning at Georgetown University Law Center.

And - the White House says a National Rifle Association video referencing President Barack Obama's daughters is "repugnant and cowardly."

Obama spokesman Jay Carney says most Americans agree that a president's children should not be used as "pawns in a political fight." Carney was referring to an online video from the pro-gun lobby. The video calls Obama an "elitist hypocrite" for having armed Secret Service agents protect his daughters at school while not committing to installing armed guards in all schools.

The NRA released the video ahead of Obama's announcement Wednesday of proposals for curbing the nation's gun violence. The president is calling on Congress to enact universal background checks and ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines -- all measures the NRA opposes.

The gun lobby has instead called for armed guards in schools. (AP)

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