RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A visibly emotional President Barack Obama, at one point wiping tears from his cheek, unveiled his plan Tuesday to tighten control and enforcement of firearms in the U.S., using his presidential powers in the absence of legal changes he implored Congress to pass.
Here in Richmond, folks on both side of the gun control debate are speaking out.
“I think it’s marvelous that he’s looked at every possible avenue and he’s found things that he can do and he’s going to do them,” said Andy Goddard, whose son was shot and injured during the Virginia Tech shootings.
Goddard has been fighting for expanded background checks and more oversight when it comes to guns. In reaction to the president’s executive orders, he says it’s momentum he’s waited for as bills have continually stalled in congress.
“It’s incredibly frustrating to know that you have the backing of the American people who want the same thing, and yet nobody will get off their hands and do something,” said Goddard.
While the president’s orders are welcomed by Goddard, he is hoping it leads to legislation from Congress.
“He’s sending a message to Congress. What we need is congress to act,” said Goddard.
Others disagree with Goddard’s stance.
“I don’t care what law you pass, it’s not going to stop a criminal,” said David Hancock, a gun dealer in Chesterfield County.
Hancock says he doesn’t think the orders change anything. Hancock says the orders just reinforce existing federal law.
“This is a bunch of unclear rhetoric trying to make somebody feel like they’re doing something when i don’t think this is accomplishing anything,” said Hancock.
Hancock says the orders are actually counterproductive to the president’s goals.
“He wants to take guns off the street, he opens his mouth and there are 20 million more guns out there,” said Hancock.
Meanwhile the attorney general and governor are praising the president’s actions.
Governor Terry McAuliffe issued a reactionary statement which read, in part, “if these measures prevent a single family from going through the agony that so many Virginians have experienced, they will be worthwhile.”