Michigan lawmakers react to Obama's gun control package
President Obama has unveiled the most sweeping proposals for curbing gun violence in nearly two decades.
The President is pushing Congress to pass universal background checks and bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.
A month after the massacre in Newtown, Conn., the President used his power to enact 23 measures that don't require the backing of his colleagues in Congress. The president's actions include more extensive background checks, appointing a director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and directing the Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence.
These actions have angered lawmakers like Dr. Dan Benishek, R-Mich., who call the move "unacceptable".
"The Administration has also stated it intends to sidestep the legislative branch to implement its new gun control measures without the approval of Congress," Benishek said. "The American people deserve to have this debate done the right way-in the open with the consent of their elected representatives."
Obama says the power still lies in Congress in order to make any real changes.
"To make a real and lasting difference, Congress must act," Obama said. "And Congress must act soon."
Senator Carl Levin, D-Mich, strongly supported the President's efforts to curb gun violence.
"I have long supported legislation to restore the ban on assault weapons. I also have supported closing the gun show loophole to strengthen the background checks that keep weapons out of the hands of criminals, terrorists, domestic abusers and other dangerous individuals. I support our police agencies, who have implored us to make these changes," Levin said.
Dr. Benishek says that attacking the second amendment is not the answer.
"Law abiding gun owners in Northern Michigan should not have their Second Amendment rights restricted because of the actions of criminals that are determined to hurt innocent people," Benishek says. "We cannot allow our Constitutional rights to be eroded to achieve a false sense of security."
Benishek says that while a national conversation about violence is necessary, taking guns out of the hands of "responsible people" is not the answer.
"Guns are not the problem evil people are," Benishek said. "The only thing these proposed restrictions would do is prevent law-abiding individuals from protecting their homes, children and businesses."
Sen. Levin disagrees, saying the steps the President outlined are important in protecting Americans while still respecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners.
"The president is right. It's time for us to act, and Congress should do so," Levin said.