WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama is announcing a $500 million package of executive actions and legislative proposals aimed at reducing gun violence a month after a mass shooting in Connecticut killed 20 elementary school children.
The package includes a call on Congress to ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazine and it would close loopholes in the gun sale background check system.
Obama also is signing 23 executive actions -- which require no congressional approval -- including several aimed at improving access to data for background checks. A presidential memorandum will instruct the Centers for Disease Control to research causes and prevention of gun violence.
In addition, Obama will nominate Todd Jones as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Jones currently is the acting director of the agency.
Republican chair calls Obama's proposals a 'power grab'
The head of the Republican National Committee is dismissing the gun control provisions announced today by President Barack Obama as an "executive power grab."
Reince Priebus says Obama "paid lip service to our fundamental constitutional rights" -- and then "took actions that disregard the Second Amendment."
House Speaker John Boehner's office is non-committal, but it is signaling no urgency to act on Obama's proposals.
In a statement, the National Rifle Association quickly challenged Obama's proposals. It said, "Attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation." The NRA says the only people who will be affected will be "honest, law-abiding gun owners" -- while children will "remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy."
But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says Obama offered some "thoughtful recommendations." He says the Senate will consider legislation addressing gun violence early this year. Reid says the shooting in Connecticut was "the latest sad reminder" that the nation isn't doing enough to protect children and others from gun violence.
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