President Announces $500 Million Package Against Gun Violence

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

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

Among the initiatives outlined in President Obama's plan include;

  • universal background checks for gun sales,
  • the reinstatement and strengthening of the assault weapons ban,
  • capping ammunition magazines to a 10-round limit, banning armor-piercing ammunition,
  • providing schools with resource officers and school counselors,
  • putting more police officers on the streets, creating serious punishments for gun trafficking,
  • and ensuring that health insurance plans cover mental health benefits.

President Obama also signed 23 executive actions that require no congressional approval.

These 23 executive actions include;

  • measures aimed at making federal background check data widely available, accessible, and maximally effective,
  • staying ahead of the curve on the newest gun safety measures,
  • tracing seized guns and ensuring they don't go back into the hands of dangerous gun owners,
  • making sure schools and other institutions are equipped and prepared for the possibility of shooter situations,
  • aggressively prosecuting gun crime,
  • and improving mental health resources and discourse.

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