An emotional President Obama is speaking at the White House to unveil executive actions aimed at reducing gun violence. The President wiped away tears as he reflected on the children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School and elsewhere.
Obama has insisted he has the legal authority to make those executive actions, and blames Congress for inaction on the issue of gun violence. The President repeated a call to Congress to pass broader "common sense gun safety measures."
Obama will ask Congress to authorize another half-a-billion dollars to treat mental illness. His executive actions seeks to limit the ability of criminals and mentally unstable people to get guns. It will also require more gun sellers to get licenses and will seek to get a better handle on tracking lost or stolen guns. The initiative also seeks to boost gun safety technology.
Obama's moves are facing criticism from both sides. Congressional Republicans accuse him of executive overreach and vow to challenge the executive actions in court. Meantime, some gun control groups say the actions do not go nearly far enough. Families of shooting victims were invited to the East Room ceremony to hear the President's remarks. Some held up pictures of fallen family members. Obama was introduced by Mark Barden, whose son Daniel was killed in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012. Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords sat in the front row. She was seriously injured in a deadly mass shooting in Tucson in 2011.