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Obama issues executive orders to curtail gun violence

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i77 (Published 06 January 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i77
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. 1Seattle

Frustrated by the lack of congressional action on gun control, President Barack Obama announced on 5 January a series of executive orders aimed at reducing gun violence in the United States. Each year firearms are responsible for about 84 000 non-fatal injuries in the US and about 33 000 deaths, of which about 11 000 are homicides and 21 000 are suicides.

The orders range from closing loopholes that allow gun sales without background checks of the purchasers to enabling health providers to report people who should not be allowed to purchase firearms because of mental illness.

In an emotional speech at the White House outlining the measures that his administration would take, the president wiped tears from his eyes as he recounted how first graders died in the 2012 mass shooting at an elementary school in Newton, Connecticut, that took 26 lives, including 20 schoolchildren. “Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad,” the president said. …

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