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KXXV: Local representatives react to president's announcement on gun control

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WASHINGTON, D.C., January 5, 2016 | comments

By: Anthony J. Garcia

Central Texas elected officials are speaking out after President Obama announced executive actions on gun control Tuesday morning.

Obama spoke about a number of executive actions he would be implementing in an effort to prevent gun violence. They included requiring all gun sellers to run background checks, more FBI staff to run checks, access to mental health care and improvements in gun safety technology.

Senator John Cornyn says while he's saddened by horrific acts of mass violence that have struck, the measures announced by the president threaten constitutional rights and would not solve the problem.

 “An unwillingness to find common ground and achieve compromise has been a hallmark of this President’s tenure, and this issue is unfortunately no different. Rather than unilaterally impose a gun control agenda that’s unlawful and strips the constitutional rights of elderly Americans, the President should better enforce current law and work with Congress on legislation reforming our mental health system."

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick says the president's executive actions were "overreaching."

"The president may not personally like it, but we have the constitutional right to protect ourselves, our families and our businesses," Patrick said. "If the president's goal is to sincerely help protect Americans he should make it easier to legally purchase, train and use their weapons of choice for protection than trot out phony new regulations to stand in their way."

Texas State District Representative Roger Williams expressed his concern with the president's announcement in relation to the second amendment. 

“From his first day in office this president has made it clear he has an anti-gun agenda,” said Williams. “President Obama must go by the constitution, not around the constitution, and I certainly will not let him prevent law abiding citizens from practicing one of their most important rights.”

The White House announced Monday that Obama's executive actions included closing loopholes for gun show and online sales that have allowed firearms to be sold without background checks. It also requires background checks for people who purchase "some of the most dangerous weapons," like machine guns and sawed-off shotguns, through a trust or corporation.

In addition, the White House said the FBI would hire 230 more staff members to help process background checks, and steps would be taken to modernize the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. States will be encouraged to improve the sharing of criminal records and disqualifying mental health reasons with the background check system.

"President Obama is again attempting to circumvent Congress to restrict the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans. The president’s continued overreach of executive power is a threat to our Constitutional system of checks and balances to protect individual rights."

Congressman Flores added, "The president should be focusing on strengthening our national security, rather than focusing on restricting our Second Amendment rights. This political executive overreach can only hide his record of failed foreign policies for a short period. Now more than ever, we must ensure that all Americans are safe and secure from radical Islamic terrorists and other national security threats."

Matt Quillen contributed to this report.

Copyright 2015 KXXV. All rights reserved.

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