Today's Talk: Local officials sound off on Obama gun announcements
JEFFERSON CITY - President Obama announced a series of gun actions in a news conference Tuesday morning, including enforcing background checks and making the process more efficient, researching "smart gun" technology and investing more money in mental health care.
"I believe in the Second Amendment. It's there written on the paper. It guarantees a right to bear arms," Obama said. "But I also believe that we can find ways to reduce gun violence consistent with the Second Amendment."
Some local officials responded to the news conference with statements of their own. Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder released a statement saying Obama was "undermining the Second Amendment of the Constitution and targeting law-abiding gun owners" with these new actions, and said, "We don't need more gun control. We need Obama control."
During the news conference, the president outlined his steps to curbing gun violence. Step one involves expanding mandatory background checks. He also wants to hire more employees to process background checks in order to maintain and increase efficiency.
Step two is intended to strengthen "smart and effective enforcement of gun safety laws that are already on the books," including adding more investigators and requiring firearms dealers to report stolen guns.
The third step in his plan invests $500 million in mental health treatment. The fourth step addresses increasing gun safety technology to prevent accidents.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens said, "We know that you don't stop criminals by taking away guns from law abiding citizens. The truth is just the opposite. Criminals are stopped by law abiding citizens with guns."
Former federal prosecutor and republican gubernatorial candidate Catherine Hanaway also shared her opinion.
"President Obama's proposed restrictions on firearms owners constitutes an attack on every American's Second Amendment rights," Hanaway said. "For the past seven years, President Obama has shown a blatant disregard for the U.S. Constitution, and time after time he has violated individual liberties with unconstitutional executive actions."
President Obama emphasized that he was not trying to take away people's guns. "Contrary to claims of some presidential candidates, apparently, before this meeting, this is not a plot to take away everybody's guns. You pass a background check; you purchase a firearm."
"Our office holders in Missouri have a constitutional duty to fight against attacks on our inalienable rights," Republican gubernatorial candidate John Brunner said.
Missouri representative Blaine Luetkemeyer also chimed in the discussion.
"Not only is the president, once again, ignoring the checks and balances of our government," he said. "He is infringing on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens."
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[Editor's note: This story has been updated to include gubernatorial candidates Catherine Hanaway and John Brunner's statements.]