By JULIE PACE and ERICA WERNER
WASHINGTON — Without waiting for Congress, President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced a sweeping $500 million program to curb gun violence, setting up a fight over universal background checks and bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, in the wake of the Connecticut school shooting.
Obama also used his presidential powers to issue 23 orders that don’t require congressional approval. The largely incremental executive steps include requiring federal agencies to make more data available for background checks, appointing a fulltime director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and directing the Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence.
But the president, speaking at the White House, acknowledged the most effective actions must be taken by lawmakers.
“To make a real and lasting difference, Congress must act,” Obama said. “And Congress must act soon.”
Obama was flanked by children who wrote him letters about gun violence in the weeks following the Newtown shooting. Families of the 20 children killed in the massacre, as well as survivors, were also in the audience along with law enforcement officers and members of Congress.
“This is our first task as a society, keeping our children safe,” Obama said. “This is how we will be judged.”
The president based his proposals on recommendations from an administration-wide task force led by Vice President Joe Biden.
By JULIE PACE and ERICA WERNER
- Local News
City extending treatment of water
The local water supply will continue to have the altered smell and taste typical of late summer for just a little while longer.
Elderly resident’s death still under investigation
The Greenville Police Department is still investigating the death of an elderly local resident, whose body as discovered at a local cemetery earlier this month.
Rain possible this week
Some locations in Hunt County experienced a passing shower Monday, as slightly cooler temperatures settled in over the region.
CASA training, dinner scheduled
An agency dedicated to coming to the aid of neglected and abused children in Hunt County is seeking some new volunteers to assist with the effort.
- Clarification: Custody hearing this week for seized animals
QT auction ends this week
An online auction ends this week for land next door to the QuikTrip (QT) store in Greenville.
Higher property taxes likely next year
A property tax increase appears to be inevitable in next year’s City of Greenville budget.
Something old, something borrowed
Dozens of women have given up one of their household’s cherished heirlooms, to dress tiny children who never had a chance to go home.
City waiting on new street repair numbers
The City of Greenville is hoping for some good news this week, as a second set of bids are opened on the 2014 Street Improvement Program.
Forecast: Cool down expected this week
Greenville still has not recorded an official triple-digit high temperature this summer.
- More Local News Headlines
- City extending treatment of water