Gov. Rick Perry issued a firm response to President Barack Obama’s sweeping gun violence package moments after it was announced Wednesday, saying the proposal has little to do with curbing mass shootings and charged the left with using tragedy to propel its anti-gun agenda.
The president announced the $500 million package during an 11 a.m. press conference, one month after a gunman shot and killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. The plan is the most comprehensive gun control package to be considered in more than two decades.
“The second amendment to the Constitution is a basic right of free people and cannot be nor will it be abridged by the executive power of this or any other president,” reads Perry’s statement.
President Obama charged Vice President Joe Biden with heading a task force to suggest “common-sense” changes to current firearm policy in the wake of the Newtown massacre. In his response, Perry distinctively placed himself opposite the plan.
“The Vice President’s committee was appointed in response to the tragedy at Newtown, but very few of his recommendations have anything to do with what happened there,” reads the response. “Guns require a finger to pull the trigger. The sad young man who did that in Newtown was clearly haunted by demons and no gun law could have saved the children in Sandy Hook Elementary from his terror.”
As the Associated Press reported after Obama’s morning press conference:
The president is asking Congress to renew the ban on high-grade, military-style assault weapons that was first signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994 but expired in 2004.
Other measures before Congress include limiting high-capacity ammunition magazines and requiring background checks for all gun buyers in an attempt to close the so-called "gun-show loophole" that allows people to buy guns at trade shows and over the Internet without submitting to background checks.
Obama also intends to seek confirmation for B. Todd Jones, who has served as acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives since 2011.
The president also said he planned to enact 23 executive orders, which do not need the approval of Congress.
Perry’s response echoed portions of National Rifle Association executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre's argument –– he partly blamed the horrific mass shootings on a culture that partakes in violent entertainment.
“There is evil prowling in the world –– it shows up in our movies, video games and online fascinations, and finds its way into vulnerable hearts and minds,” Perry wrote.
Perry’s strongly worded response comes just a day after Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott launched an ad campaign inviting New Yorkers to move to Texas to avoid gun regulations enacted there earlier this week.
The ads, which target users in the New York and Albany area, link to a Facebook application that tout, among other things, the state’s lack of income tax –– “we’ll fight like hell to protect your rights” and “you’ll also get to keep more of what you earn and use some of that extra money to buy more ammo,” it says.
Abbott, whom a source says has signaled that he will run for governor in 2014, accuses New York of limiting its residents' rights by banning assault rifles, limiting magazine capacity and requiring background checks for purchases of both guns and ammunition.