BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB/AP) - President Barack Obama announced new executive actions Tuesday morning, aimed at expanding background checks for gun buyers. During his televised news conference, Obama defended the steps he's taking, saying they are constitutional -- and that as a former constitutional law professor, he knows "a little about this."
He says that contrary to the claims of some GOP presidential candidates, he's not plotting to take away everyone's guns.
Obama says some constraints on freedom are necessary to protect innocent people.
"And the evidence tells us that states that require background checks, law abiding Americans don't find it any harder to purchase guns whatsoever. Their guns have not been confiscated and their rights of not been infringed," said President Obama during his news conference.
Reaction from people in Baton Rouge centered around the details of the executive actions.
"Concerns are going to be in the details," said Wade Duty with Precision Firearms in Baton Rouge. "We'll have to wait for the actual words to emerge on paper. Our concern is going to be how narrowly they draw the mental health information because you do have legitimate privacy concerns. We want to make sure the people who aren't a threat to themselves or others aren't locked out because of a bureaucratic roadblock."
Duty says expanding background checks to people who are actually dealing guns is a good thing with limits.
Baton Rouge, like many other areas across the country, has consistently witnessed gun sales increase on the heels of such announcements on gun control. Duty says that it's hard for gun dealers to get inventory because of the increases.
"It's been a consistent pattern that we've seen throughout his administration," he said. "Every time there is a move towards gun restrictions we see the response of increased sales, so it's not a new thing to us. Now whether it achieves his objective or not that's up for grabs."
Ted Cruz is protesting Obama's executive actions limiting firearms sales by giving away an engraved shotgun. He says Obama's new actions to more tightly regulate gun sales aren't worth the paper they're written on.
Celebrities Julianne Moore, Kerry Washington, Amy Schumer, Janelle Monae and Elizabeth Banks went on Twitter to applaud Obama's announcement. And Obama's aides happily retweeted their expressions of support.
The National Rifle Association says President Barack Obama's executive actions on gun control are "ripe for abuse" and lack seriousness.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is criticizing President Barack Obama as a weak commander-in-chief who is more focused on undercutting Americans' rights to bear arms than combatting terrorism.
Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton is offering her positive reviews of the president's actions on gun regulation in a tweet. Clinton tweeted her thanks to the president. She called his executive actions "a crucial step forward on gun violence." And she added that the next president "has to build on that progress_not rip it away."
House Speaker Paul Ryan says no matter what unilateral action President Barack Obama takes on gun control, "his word does not trump the Second Amendment."