WASHINGTON D.C. — President Barack Obama, in a New Year’s address, made fighting gun violence a resolution for 2016, calling it a major piece of “unfinished business” in his time at the White House.
As he marks the start of his final year in the White House, Obama expressed regret at the little progress made in the past seven years towards remedying America’s gun “epidemic.”
“My New Year’s resolution is to move forward on our unfinished business as much as I can,” he said. “That’s especially true for one piece of unfinished business, that’s our epidemic of gun violence.”
The U.S. leader announced he would meet with Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Monday, his first day back at work after the New Year’s break, “to discuss our options” in reducing the deaths and injuries caused by firearms.
“Last month, we remembered the third anniversary of Newtown,” the president said, referring to a December 2012 mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school that left 20 young children and six adults dead.
“This Friday, I’ll be thinking about my friend Gabby Giffords, five years into her recovery from the shooting in Tucson,” he said, speaking of a former U.S. congresswoman and victim of yet another of the spasms of gun violence that have killed and injured thousands across the nation.
Obama reiterated his frustration at the lack of action by Congress to curb gun violence.
“All across America, survivors of gun violence and those who lost a child, a parent, a spouse to gun violence are forced to mark such awful anniversaries every single day, and yet Congress still hasn’t done anything to prevent what happened to them from happening to other families,” the president said.
“Three years ago, a bipartisan, commonsense bill would have required background checks for virtually everyone who buys a gun,” the president said, saying such a measure would have had the support of the vast majority of the American public, including those who were gun owners.
“But the gun lobby mobilized against it. And the Senate blocked it,” Obama said.
“Since then, tens of thousands of our fellow Americans have been mowed down by gun violence. Tens of thousands.”
According to CNN, Obama is expected to announce new executive action before his State of the Union address on January 12, with the goal of expanding background checks on gun sales.
In his New Year’s address, the president said measures to be discussed with Lynch will focus on “keeping an irresponsible, dangerous few from inflicting harm on a massive scale.”