Obama asks Congress for money to prevent mass shootings

WASHINGTON Tue Mar 4, 2014 3:47pm EST

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama returned to the subject of mass shootings on Tuesday by proposing to spend millions of dollars more on gun safety programs, inspections of retailers and background checks for people buying firearms.

If enacted by a U.S. Congress that has been wary of gun control measures, the $182 million package would advance an issue that rose to the top of the national agenda after the December 2012 shooting of 20 children and six adults at a Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school.

The White House put forward the package as part of a proposed budget for the government fiscal year that begins on October 1.

Included in the package is $13 million to improve the background check system run by the FBI and $22 million more for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which inspects federally licensed firearms dealers.

The ATF has for years lacked the money to inspect all gun shops annually. In 2012, when there were 69,000 firearms retailers, the ATF said it conducted 13,100 inspections.

Obama proposed $147 million for states and localities to spend to reduce mass shootings. Of that, $55 million would go to help states submit criminal and mental health records to the FBI's background check system and $2 million would be used "to develop better gun safety mechanisms to prevent the use of firearms by unauthorized users," according to an administration document.

The administration proposed spending $75 million on research and pilot projects about school safety, and $15 million for training for "active shooter" situations.

In a statement accompanying the budget request, the Justice Department said it was examining all ways at the federal level "to keep firearms away from traffickers and others prohibited by law from possessing firearms."

Obama rarely mentioned gun control while campaigning for a second, four-year term in 2012, but a month after he won reelection, the Newtown massacre shocked Americans and altered the administration's priorities.

The president ordered a review of possible changes to federal gun laws but ran into opposition from supporters of gun rights. In April, the Senate rejected by six votes a plan to extend background checks to online and gun-show sales.

(Editing by Howard Goller and Jim Loney)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (2)
How about Obama beg Congress to flush fluoride out of our water system, put 5 billion in our education system instead of terrorizing other countries! SHUT down Federal reserve! America is not what it used to be stupid democrips and rebloodican and the root of all evil, too big to fail.

Mar 06, 2014 6:13am EST  --  Report as abuse
MB222 wrote:
A whopping 231 people have died in mass shootings in the U.S. during the last five years (http://www.rampageshooting.com/). In the same period nearly 150,000 people have died from drunk drivers (http://www.alcoholalert.com/drunk-driving-statistics.html).

Mar 08, 2014 6:21am EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Recommended Newsletters

Reuters U.S. Top News
A quick-fix on the day's news published with Reuters videos and award-winning news photography and delivered at your choice of one of four times during the day.
Reuters Deals Today
The latest Reuters articles on M&A, IPOs, private equity, hedge funds and regulatory updates delivered to your inbox each day.
Reuters Technology Report
Your daily briefing on the latest tech developments from around the world from Reuters expert tech correspondents.