US President Barack Obama said he would use his executive power as US president to make it harder for "a dangerous few" to get hold of guns. In his first weekly address of 2016, Obama said he would meet Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Monday, 4 January, to discuss measures to curb gun violence in the US.
Mentioning that he received "too many letters from parents, and teachers, and kids, to sit around and do nothing", Obama said he planned to meet Lynch to discuss various measures to curb the "epidemic of gun violence". He also referred to the inaction of the Republican-controlled Congress towards addressing the issue.
"A few months ago, I directed my team at the White House to look into any new actions I can take to help reduce gun violence," he said in the address. "And on Monday, I'll meet with our attorney general, Loretta Lynch, to discuss our options." The president could use his executive power to make background checks for buyers more stringent.
Responding to analysts' predictions that taking action to increase gun control will result in a severe backlash from the gun lobby and the Republican Party, Obama said: "The gun lobby is loud and well organized in its defense of effortlessly available guns for anyone. The rest of us are going to have to be just as passionate and well organized in our defense of our kids."
Obama has been stressing the need for stronger gun control ever since the 2012 mass shooting at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. His call grew louder after the recent mass shootings in the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado and San Bernardino, California last year.
"We know that we can't stop every act of violence," he said. "But what if we tried to stop even one? What if Congress did something — anything — to protect our kids from gun violence?"
Obama's address and plans for gun control follow the recent "open carry law" in Texas, which allows gun owners to wear their handguns on their hips in holsters and display them freely.
Responding to the presidential address, Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott tweeted: "Obama wants to impose more gun control. My response? COME & TAKE IT."
Catherine Frazier, a spokeswoman for Senator Ted Cruz, commented: "President Obama is trying to distract Americans from his failure to address the true threat of radical Islamic terrorism, and instead going after the rights of law-abiding American citizens — it is complete lunacy. If Ted Cruz is elected president, the lawlessness will end on Day One, and Americans' personal liberties will be restored and protected."
While the National Rifle Association had no comment at the moment, the group previously told CNN that Obama's "gun control agenda was rejected by Congress. Now, he is doing what he always does when he doesn't get his way, defying the will of the people and using executive action".
Michael Bloomberg-helmed Everytown for Gun Safety, which supports gun safety and responsibility, has been working on recommendations that include assessment tests for gun sellers.
Gun control advocates are expecting Obama's new actions to be revealed next week, ahead of his annual State of the Union address set for 12 January.