Home Politics Obama Focuses on Gun Control, Climate Change in State of the Union Address

Obama Focuses on Gun Control, Climate Change in State of the Union Address

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In the wake of growing environmental concerns and tragedies such as the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., President Obama urged Congress to take action against climate change and gun violence in his State of the Union address Tuesday night.

As a nation, he said we have made some progress in the area of environmental sustainability. America currently produces its highest level of domestic oil in 15 years, and cars can now go twice as far on a gallon of gas as they have in the past.

However, the president stressed the importance of even more environmental progress in order to protect the next generation of Americans – children who are more than likely unaware of the dangers presented by climate change.

“For the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change,” Obama said.

Although conservative critics have claimed that the fight against environmental problems is an unnecessary addition to the nation’s already large deficit, the president emphasized that it is possible to face this issue while still supporting the healing economy.

“We can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science and act before it’s too late. We can make meaningful progress on this issue while driving strong economic growth,” he said.

If Congress does not do more to act on this growing problem, Obama said, he would personally take action to fight against it.

One proposal he offered was the creation of an energy security trust fund, which would fund new technology to help shift cars off of oil for good.

The president said that any action taken would certainly have historical relevance.

“Now is the time to reach a level of research and development not seen since the height of the space race. We need to make those investments,” Obama said.

In addition to the fight against climate change, the president also stressed the importance of legislative action to lessen violent crimes here in the United States.

Former US Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was wounded in the infamous Tuscon, Ariz. shooting just over two years ago, looked on from the audience as Obama declared, to a rousing ovation from the crowd, that Giffords and others whose lives have been forever changed by gun violence deserve some form of legislative atonement.

“Overwhelming majorities of Americans … have come together around common sense reform like background checks that will make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun,” the president said, adding that senators from both parties are currently working on legislation that would allow for this.

“If you want to vote no, that’s your choice, but these proposals deserve a vote. Gabby Giffords … and the families affected by gun violence deserve a simple vote,” he said.

While this legislation, if it eventually becomes law, will not be able to completely eradicate gun violence here in the United States, Obama said that it would at the very least be a step forward in preventing senseless crimes like the shooting in which Giffords was injured, and the more recent shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“Our actions will not prevent every senseless act of violence in this country … but we were never sent here to be perfect,” he said. “We were sent here to make what difference we can.”

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