Riley voices support for Obama's proposal on gun violence

Published: Jan. 16, 2013 at 8:21 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 16, 2013 at 10:07 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC/AP) - Mayor Joe Riley announced his support Wednesday for President Barack Obama's proposals to reduce gun violence.

President Obama unveiled the most sweeping proposals for curbing gun violence in two decades, pressing a reluctant Congress to pass universal background checks and bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines like the ones used in the Newtown, Conn., school shooting.

Mayor Riley released the following statement:

The level of gun violence in our country is a national tragedy.  President Obama has recommended prudent, common-sense steps that must be taken right away, and I urge Congress and certainly the members of the South Carolina Congressional Delegation to support the President's recommendations.  Assault weapons are not sporting weapons, they are not needed for protecting our homes or for self-defense, and conversely, when they get in the hands of deranged or hate-filled people, they become tools of mass murder.

Additionally, high-capacity magazines similarly offer deranged individuals a relative arsenal at their disposal.  Further, loopholes in background checks, especially at gun shows, are a huge and dangerous opening to allow guns to get into the wrong hands.

I believe that what the President has outlined is overwhelmingly supported by a majority of citizens of our country.  We owe it to the children and families in Newtown, CT and to the children and families in our city and every community in America to pass these common-sense measures as soon as possible. 

The president vowed to use "whatever weight this office holds" to press lawmakers into action on his $500 million plan. He is also calling for improvements in school safety, including putting 1,000 police officers in schools and bolstering mental health care by training more health professionals to deal with young people who may be at risk.

The Charleston County Sheriff's Office will be holding a press conference Thursday morning to address President Obama's gun violence plan.

Copyright 2013 WCSC. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.