President Barack Obama announced Wednesday his $500 million package of executive actions and legislative proposals that aim to reduce gun violence.
The package includes a call on Congress to ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. It also includes legislation that would close loopholes in the gun sale background check system.
Besides the legislative proposals, Obama is taking 23 executive actions aimed at curbing gun violence that don't require congressional action, including measures to encourage schools to hire police officers, increase research on gun violence and improve efforts to prosecute gun crime.
Obama is also directing the Center for Disease Control to research gun violence for causes and prevention techniques.
Following the president's announcement, Sen. Mike Johanns released a statement saying, "We all share the same goal of reducing gun violence and Iwill carefully review any legislation before Congress, but placing a heavier burden on responsible gun owners will dolittle to prevent troubled individuals from carrying out violent acts.The Second Amendment is very clear and so is my commitment to protecting theConstitutional right of law-abiding citizens to bear arms.
"As sound as their intent may be,the President has a responsibility to fully explain his unilateral executiveactions because their implementation deals directly with the freedoms enshrinedin our nation's founding documents.
"Ourcountry must have an honest conversation about violence and how to prevent it.We should also strive to move past the easy talking points to address theglorification of violence in movies and video games, as well as our society'sunderstanding of mental health care issues."
Rep. Adrian Smith also released a statement following the president's announcement. He said, "Reducing violence is a necessary goal, but I amconcerned this plan would infringe on the Second Amendment rights oflaw-abiding Nebraskans, and is yet another instance of the President bypassingCongress to impose his agenda. I also fear many of the President'sproposals would do nothing to address the underlying causes of violence.I look forward to reviewing the plan in more detail, and to being a part ofthis debate in Congress."