President Barack Obama signed an executive order to curb gun violence on Wednesday. (Source: CNN)
PHOENIX (CBS5/AP) -
The stage is set for another battle with Congress, now that President Barack Obama has unveiled the most sweeping proposals for curbing gun violence in two decades.
He's urging lawmakers to approve universal background checks for gun buyers, and to ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines like the ones used in a Connecticut elementary school a month ago.
Even without Congress, Obama is hoping to reduce gun violence through a series of 23 executive actions, including one that tells federal agencies to make more data available for background checks.
The National Rifle Association of America issued the following statement after Obama spoke:
"Throughout its history, the National Rifle Association has led efforts to promote safety and responsible gun ownership. Keeping our children and society safe remains our top priority. The NRA will continue to focus on keeping our children safe and securing our schools, fixing our broken mental health system, and prosecuting violent criminals to the fullest extent of the law.
"We look forward to working with Congress on a bi-partisan basis to find real solutions to protecting America's most valuable asset - our children. Attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation. Only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy."
Democratic U.S. Rep. Ed Pastor of Arizona issued a statement showing his support:
"These common-sense efforts to require universal background checks on all firearm sales, re-instituting a ban on new high-capacity magazines and military-style assault weapons, and improving access to mental health services, will help keep guns out of dangerous hands.
"This is the right thing to do, now more than ever, and so I call on my Congressional leaders to support and work constructively with all parties to make sure that much-needed balanced reforms to reduce gun violence are enacted."
Republican Congressman Trent Franks released this statement:
"It is rather telling that the day after Republican Members read the U.S. Constitution on the House floor -- a bid to encourage the whole body to recommit to the principles we're sworn to defend -- the President of the United States is today holding a press conference detailing his plans to attempt to weaken the 2nd Amendment -- a foundational provision of that very same foundational document. Moreover, he seeks to implement his policies without so much as consulting Congress or American voters.
"Much to Mr. Obama's chagrin, ours is not a government run by fiat. The American people have shown quite clearly that they will not simply roll over while this Administration seeks to undercut our founding principles in pursuit of its preferred European model of government."
Here's Arizona RepublicanCongressman Paul Gosar's reaction:
"First and foremost, I took an oath to protect and defend the U.S Constitution. I will actively fight any attempt by this Administration to undermine our Constitution and infringe upon the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.
"With the attack on personal gun-ownership, the Second Amendment, and our God-given rights, the Obama-Biden Administration has been relentless in their pursuit of taking guns away from law-abiding Americans.
"This President and the anti-gun lobby continue to ignore the fact that violence is driven by a number of different factors, and that experience has shown gun control does not curb violent acts.
"There is no easy answer to the problem of violence we face in our country, but inhibiting the ability of law abiding citizens to exercise their Constitutional rights is nothing more than window dressing. One needs to look no further than the states with the toughest restrictions on firearms to see that they are the ones consistently ranking the highest in violent crime. When you limit an individual's ability to lawfully purchase or carry firearms you are allowing only those with the intent to break the law to have weapons.
"We must focus on reducing violent crime and keeping our families safe by encouraging our local communities to work with law enforcement and prioritize school safety. We should also devote resources to improving mental health services so that we can intervene early and curb violent behavior. These are constructive and constitutionally sound ways of dealing with this serious issue."
The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said he'll begin hearings in two weeks on gun control proposals. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-VT, says he doesn't know if an assault weapons ban can pass the Senate but that there are some measures that can pass, including improved background checks.
Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.