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President Obama Signs Executive Order to Curb Gun Violence


By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Newtown resident Mark Barden took the podium in the East Room at the White House on Tuesday to mark a special occasion that was somewhat rooted in the deadly Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting on Dec. 14, 2012.

 
On that cold winter’s day in a tony suburb in Connecticut, Barden’s seven-year son, Daniel, was among 20 first-graders who were shot to death. That’s because Adam Lanza walked into the Newtown elementary school and opened fire on those children and six adults, including his mother. Then Lanza shot himself.

 
Mass shootings has become one of the most polarizing debates since the 1999 Columbine shooting. Since then, more than 30,000 lives have  been lost to gun violence.

 
“As a nation we have to do better,” Barden said before he introduced President Barack Obama. Barden is managing director of the Sandy Hook Promise, one of several groups that have been pressing Congress to pass laws to require background checks.

 
Obama’s executive order comes about three years after his administration sought a resolution to end mass shootings in America. Since the Columbine shooting in 1999, there have been more than 25 mass shootings in suburban towns.

 
Obama said that his latest executive order is one in a series of executive actions to tighten up steps that are already in place to curb gun violence.

 
“The United States of America is not the only country on Earth with violent or dangerous people. We are not inherently more prone to violence,” Obama said. “But we are the only advanced country on Earth that sees this kind of mass violence erupt with this kind of frequency. It doesn’t happen in other advanced countries.”

 
In April 2013 in the Rose Garden Barden was with Obama to announce a bill that was eventually blocked by some members of Congress.

 
This latest effort aims to, among other things, expand background checks to guns sold online and at trade shows, add more than 230 FBI employees to process background checks, call for 400 million increase in funding for mental health care, and call for $500 million increase in funding for mental health care.

 

Congressman John B. Larson (D-CT) applauded Obama’s move on gun violence.

 

“The most patriotic thing we can do is vote. With respect to universal background checks on gun purchases, the U.S. House of Representatives has failed to fulfill its constitutional obligation and vote—even in the aftermath of Sandy Hook and countless other tragedies,” said Rep.Larson (CT-01). “It is no wonder President Obama has acted where Congress has not. I applaud the President for taking a stand, but I will continue to call for the House to do its job and take up legislation that has broad, bipartisan support.

 
This move marks what will be a series of executive actions by Obama. That’s because the Democrats lost the majority of the Senate in the 2014 election. Executive orders are not as potent as legislation.

 
This move, though, will make Obama fulfill his promise to help “curb gun violence in America,” said White House officials.

 
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy applauded this move.

 

“It’s time to step up – and we deeply appreciate the smart, commonsense steps the White House announced today,” Malloy said. “These actions will no doubt make a difference and make our communities safer.”

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Travel Today: Christmas in Washington D.C.


WASHINGTON —   More than 20 million visitors pour into the nation’s  capitol city any given year during its peak tourist season, which is  late March to early April. That’s when the famous cherry trees begin to blossom. One would expect the winter months to be dreary and the city to be emptied out when congressional leaders and federal workers go back to their home districts. And the White House staff take their two-week vacation.

So if you’re in the Washington, D.C, metropolitan area, here’s a quick two-day itinerary to discover beneath the cosmopolitan veil of this charming city.

You can forget about touring the White House or visiting your congressional leaders. You have to book those reservations at least three months ahead of your scheduled visit.

So if you’re a last-minute traveler and feel like getting in on bargains here in D.C. during the winter months, you can quickly tour the Library of Congress, The Supreme Court and the nation’s Capitol in the morning on your first day. Then head to Chinatown or Adams Morgans for exquisite ethnic food.

Later that day you can take in an opera at the Kennedy Center.

But if you’re into African American history, the obligatory stroll on U Street will expose you to part of the vibrant night life that’s in the city.

Day two can be filled with visiting other museums; many of them are  free to the public.  And most visitors will want to visit Georgetown, where they can stroll along cobbled streets–and then shop until you drop. Or you could take a journey on the African American heritage trails that’s a part of the city’s rich and cultural heritage.

WHERE TO STAY:

Topaz Hotel

1733 N Street, NW

Washington, D.C. 20036

 

OTHER ACTIVITIES:

Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Listen to holiday music by a section of The United States Marine Band (The President’s Own), and carols sung by the Congressional Chorus.

Candlelight Tours in the Washington, DC Area
Enjoy the festive holiday decor of historic homes by candlelight tour, complete with seasonal music, storytelling and holiday treats.

Holiday Shows in Washington DC
See the schedule of live theatrical holiday performances in the DC area.

–Ann-Marie Adams

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