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Minnesota officials react to president's new gun control measures

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President Barack Obama announced new measures Tuesday to help slow gun violence in America, tearing up as he spoke about the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that killed 20 children and six adults.

“First graders,” the president said Tuesday, according to the New York Times, having to wipe his eyes before continuing. “Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad.”

You can watch Obama's remarks here:

https://youtu.be/myfByN5p928?t=42m35s

Broadly, according to the White House, the measure:

  • Increases the use of background checks and overhauls the background check system;
  • Includes the hiring of more Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents to help enforce laws;
  • Proposes $500 million to increase access to mental health care;
  • And directs certain federal agencies to research gun safety technology.

If you want more detailed information on what exactly it means, and some of the potential issues with it, check out this story by Vox breaking it down.

Reactions from Minnesota

The move drew quick reaction online – on Twitter for example, #StopGunViolence was one of the top trending items in Minneapolis. The conversation on Facebook was also active.

Some elected officials in Minnesota also weighed in. Here's a sampling.

Rep. Keith Ellison, a Democrat representing Minnesota's 5th District, was in full support, saying on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/keithellison/status/684435184566022144

https://twitter.com/keithellison/status/684435212319735808

Rep. Tom Emmer, a Republican for Minnesota 6th Congressional District, put out a statement, saying in part:

“Today, the President failed to adequately address our country’s glaring mental health problem and prevent acts of terror in our homeland. Instead, the President’s unilateral actions today diminish the rights of law-abiding Americans, all while circumventing the legislative process."

Sen. Al Franken, a DFLer, posted this on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/Sen.Franken/posts/10156478203740492

Rep. Danny Schoen, a Democrat from Cottage Grove, responded to a report that gun sales went up after Obama's announcement.

https://twitter.com/danschoen54a/status/684484922770259972

Sen. Sean Nienow, a Republican from Cambridge, offered a lot of thoughts on Twitter (mostly, though not completely, against the president's ideas), including this:

https://twitter.com/SNienow/status/684422119887925249

More on gun violence in America

The White House says more than 30,000 Americans die from gun violence each year.

Vocativ found that in the opening days of 2016, at least 147 people have been killed by gun violence.

FiveThirtyEight points out that a Quinnipiac poll last month found the majority of Americans – including Republicans, current gun owners, and people living in rural areas – agree with Obama when it comes to expanding background checks to online sales and gun shows.

Politifact looked at the claim that only 3 percent of criminals who use a gun get the firearm legally – and found it to be close to the truth, though it's difficult to say for sure. That would mean many criminals avoid background checks by getting weapons illegally.

Meanwhile the New York Times found the "vast majority" of guns used in 15 recent mass shootings were bought legally, with a federal background check.

Pew Research figures show the reason Americans are buying guns has changed over the years.

https://twitter.com/FactTank/status/684452839222034432

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