Tags: Barack Obama | Gun Control | Gun Rights | Valerie Jarrett | Obama | Gun Control | Congress

Valerie Jarrett: Obama Acted on Gun Control Because Congress Wouldn't

MSNBC's "Morning Joe"

By    |   Tuesday, 05 Jan 2016 11:46 AM

President Barack Obama felt the need to announce his executive orders on gun control because Congress wouldn't act on the matter, White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett said Tuesday.

"Nothing has frustrated him more than Congress's unwillingness to act on this issue since he's been in office," Jarrett told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program. "We still want to put pressure on Congress to do the right thing and we're going to need the American people to help us do that. But in the meantime the president is going to take the steps that he can to keep guns out of the wrong hands."

On Monday, Jennifer Baker, an official with the National Rifle Association, told The New York Times that Obama's plan to tighten background checks seems thin enough that it may be difficult to challenge, a claim Jarrett disputed.

"My response is they should all spend time talk to the victims of gun violence," said Jarrett. "We lose 30,000 people a year to gun violence, two-thirds of those through suicide. The president has said he'll take whatever steps he can within his authorities to keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn't have them, to make our community safe, make sure we're providing the mental health resources we need to make sure Americans are as healthy as they can be."

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms will today give "guidance" that "says it doesn't matter where you buy a gun, whether it's in a store or at a gun show or on the Internet," Jarrett continued. "If you're in the business of selling guns, you need to get a license and you need to make sure you do background checks on the people to whom you sell them. That's an important step."

Obama didn't take that step after the Newtown, Connecticut attacks, though, because the first priority was to get Congress to pass an act that would have been more comprehensive, said Jarrett.
 
"In their failure to act, the president passed 23 different executive orders that have made great improvements in terms of how we share data from the state and local level, improving our own technology," said Jarrett. "After Oregon he said 'I want my team to go back and take another look and see what more we can do.' That's when the team came up with this package that the president will present today."

The NRA, she went on, has a "well-oiled machine where they've generated a lot of revenue that they use to influence members of Congress. What the president has said is that the American people have a lot of of power, too and and when their voices are heard, they'll be more powerful than the NRA."

Ninety percent of Americans supported legislation Obama favored after Newtown, Jarrett claimed, and even now, there are many gun owners who share Obama's priority.

"They say, look, we went through a background check," she said. "Why shouldn't everybody who has a gun go through a background check? That is not an unreasonable burden to put on people."

Jarrett also appeared on CNN's "New Day" program to speak for Obama's order.

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President Barack Obama felt the need to announce his executive orders on gun control because Congress wouldn't act on the matter, White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett said Tuesday.
Valerie Jarrett, Obama, Gun Control, Congress, Executive Action
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2016-46-05
Tuesday, 05 Jan 2016 11:46 AM
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