Yesterday, President Barack Obama publicly announced a comprehensive plan for addressing gun violence in the United States. In a press conference, President Obama announced that he will use the full extent of his executive power to curb gun violence in the United States, and called on Congress to take legislative action increasing gun control.
In his speech he announced that he would immediately take executive action to increase resource officers in schools, strengthen existing background check systems, and permit the Center for Disease Control to research the causes of gun violence, including the effects of violent video games. He announced that he will sign 23 executive orders to achieve these goals and signed three of the proposed orders at the press conference. The three memorandums signed include measures to expand the use of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), authorize the CDC to begin research on the causes of gun violence, and strengthen firearms tracing.
President Obama also urged Congress to require backgrounds checks for all firearms purchases and to ban military-style assault weapons. He also urged Congress to confirm Todd Jones to become the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. The bureau has not had an official director in over six years.
"While there is no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence completely, no piece of legislation that will prevent every tragedy, every act of evil, if there is even one thing we can do to reduce this violence, if there is even one life that can be saved, then we've got an obligation to try," President Obama affirmed.
According to the CDC, firearms were responsible for 31,672 deaths (including suicides) in 2010. Data featuring trends in firearm deaths compiled by Bloomberg predict that by 2015, death related to firearms will surpass automobile deaths.
Media Resources: WhiteHouse.gov 1/16/2013; Bloomberg 12/19/2012; CDC 2010
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .