President Barack Obama issued an executive order Tuesday that seeks to curb gun violence, tearing up at one point and citing Missouri’s repeal of certain gun laws at another juncture during a speech introducing his new plan.
The executive order would expand the pool of gun sellers who have to conduct background checks, require firearms dealers to report lost or stolen weapons and invest more money in mental health programs.
Obama mentioned Missouri, which in 2007 repealed a law requiring a sheriff’s permit for purchasing a concealable gun, as an example of less restrictive gun laws leading to increases in gun deaths.
Responses to the president’s address from Missouri’s congressional delegation were divided along party lines. Democrats echoed the president’s sentiments about the growing problem of gun violence. Republicans questioned whether Obama’s proposal would have any effect and voiced concerns about the use of an executive order.
Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican, said the president missed the point in addressing gun sales rather than mental health.
“Americans are rightly concerned about incidents of violence across our nation,” Blunt said. “The president should use this opportunity to get to the root cause of so many of them and join me in my efforts to improve and expand access to mental health care.”
Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, agreed with the need to increase efforts aimed at reducing gun violence.
“Boosting safety research, and making sure anyone in the business of selling guns is licensed and does background checks—these are small, commonsense steps that anyone who cares about preventing horrific gun violence should support. But, as the President admits, it’s not enough to protect our families and communities,” McCaskill said.