President Obama plans to take aim at "unfinished business" during his final year in office, he said during his weekly address Friday, particularly looking at measures that can be taken in the United States to fight what he called an ongoing "epidemic of gun violence."
"Each time we're told that common sense reforms like background checks might not have stopped the last massacre or the one before that, so we shouldn't do anything," Obama said. "We know we can't stop every act of violence, but what if we tried to stop just one?"
The president is expected to take executive action on gun control, a move that comes after efforts through legislation have been blocked or died in the legislature, something Obama credited to strong lobbying by the gun lobby.
Obama is also scheduled to meet with U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch Monday, where he said they are expected to discuss what options are available despite congressional action.
During his weekly address, Obama noted the high-profile shootings in Newton, Connecticut, and of former Rep. Gabby Giffords, and said, "survivors of gun violence and those who lost a child, or a parent, or a spouse to gun violence are forced to mark such awful anniversaries every single day,"
"Yet congress still hasn't done anything to prevent what happened to them from happening to other families."
The president's actions will likely lead to a contentious year with Second Amendment advocates who have fought previous efforts at gun control.
Three years earlier, a bipartisan bill that would have called for universal background checks was blocked in the Senate, and across the country some states have been moving in the opposite direction.
As the president's address was published online Friday, for example, Texas enacted its open-carry law, which allows some Texans to wear their handguns in public and on display in holsters.
Politico reported some of the measures expected to come from the administration will include requirements for small-scale gun stores to be licensed, which would require they perform background checks.
Stronger rules requiring the reporting of stolen guns are also expected to be introduced.
With a possible political fight looming, the president asked advocates of gun control to step in.
"The gun lobby is loud and well organized," Obama said. "The rest of us are going to have to be just as passionate and well organized in our defense of our kids."
Obama's full weekly address:
Salvador Hernandez is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
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