East Bay political leaders this week praised President Obama's announcement that he was taking executive action to enact gun control legislation.
The presidentincluding ones to enhance background checks and expand the options for mental health professionals to report threats of violence.
He also asked Congress to approve legislation for universal background checks on gun purchases, restore a ban on assault weapons and limit magazines to 10 bullets.
“I applaud President Obama for moving so quickly to develop a comprehensive plan to reduce gun violence in the United States and in our schools," said Rep. George Miller (D-Martinez). "I support his proposal and urge Congress to work quickly to pass it."
Miller added he will work with other congressional representatives to increase safety in the nation's schools.
"We must act now,” he said.
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) said, “The president has put together a bold plan to reduce gun violence and Congress needs to enact the legislation called for, like the ban on assault weapons, without delay ... It is long overdue for members of both parties to rise above partisan differences and do what is right to protect the American people.”
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) said she hopes Congress will quickly adopt measures to renew the ban on assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines as well as require background checks on all gun sales. Lee added she wants to improve mental health and violence prevention programs.
State representatives also praised the initiatives.
State Sen. Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley) said she hopes to follow the president's lead at the state Capitol.
"The president is setting the tone for the national conversation that has to take place. I strongly agree with him that we need to take action in order to protect our children," said Hancock. "As someone who represents Oakland, I’ve seen the tragic consequences of gun violence - too many children are dying."
Gun rights advocates, however, said President Obama's directives don't have a lot of teeth.
Charles Nichols, president of California Right to Carry, said the president's 23 executive orders require $5 billion in funding that Congress needs to approve.
He added the president doesn't have the authority to enact gun bans. That, he said, must come from Congress. Nichols said congressional approval of gun prohibitions is unlikely.
"President Obama's much hyped proposals were revealed this morning and despite all of the doomsday prophecies to the contrary, Mr. Obama all but conceded defeat," said Nichols.
Read more about gun control issues on Patch:
- President Obama Calls for Universal Background Checks—Your Thoughts?
- Gun Advocates: Owning A Weapon Is A Civil Right
- Guns – Time for More Controls? A Ban?