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Obama's emotional message on gun violence is worth hearing over and over again.

"Second Amendment rights are important, but there are other rights that we care about as well."

Obama's emotional message on gun violence is worth hearing over and over again.

President Obama just revealed a series of executive actions to address gun violence.

After trying and failing to get a gun safety bill through Congress in 2013, shortly after the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, he's making his last stand on the issue.


Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

With family members of shooting victims at his side, the president delivered an emotional address stating his case for moving forward on a plan without Congress:

"Second Amendment rights are important, but there are other rights that we care about as well. ... Our right to worship freely and safely — that right was denied to Christians in Charleston, South Carolina. And that was denied Jews in Kansas City, and that was denied Muslims in Chapel Hill and Sikhs in Oak Creek.
...
Our right to peaceful assembly, that right was robbed from moviegoers in Aurora and Lafayette. Our inalienable right to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness, those rights were stripped from college kids in Blacksburg and Santa Barbara, and from high- schoolers in Columbine, and from first-graders in Newtown."

The executive actions have been described as Obama's boldest move on the issue so far.

The measures include a mandate for anyone who sells guns (not just firearm retailers) to get a license and run background checks, investments in improved gun safety technology, authorization to hire more federal agents to process background checks and enforce gun laws, and funding increases for mental health care.

It all sounds so ... reasonable. Sure, politically speaking, it may be fair to call it "bold," but if we're being honest, that's kinda sad.

Addressing gun violence should never have been a last-ditch effort.

Before the plan was even unveiled, gun rights advocates were threatening to challenge the plan in court. Republican presidential candidates have vowed to reverse the measures if they're voted into office. (Something to keep in mind in November.)

Jeb Bush speaks at an NRA rally. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

These are executive actions, not an ironclad piece of approved legislation, so that iffiness just comes with the territory.

But the president has been periodically forced into a corner, first when Congress rejected a bill containing provisions similar to those in this proposal after the Newtown massacre, then with each failure to act after the more than 1,000 mass shootings since.

The executive actions will do a lot of important things, but they won't solve the problem.

Studies have shown that gun ownership is a powerful predictor of gun homicide rates. And the United States will continue to have an unmatched volume of guns in homes and on the streets.

Photo by Dugan Ashley/Wikimedia Commons (altered).

If nothing else, however, the president is forcing the conversation and, hopefully, getting more voters to snap out of their dazes and respond with the passion and resolve we see in the NRA and other trigger-happy lobbies.

"All of us need to demand that Congress be brave enough to stand up to the gun lobby's lies. ... We need voters who want safer gun laws, and who are disappointed in leaders who stand in their way to remember come election time." — President Obama

Beating gun violence will require a huge reassessment of values. And it really does come down to one simple question:

Is it worth protecting one right, vague and dated as it may be, if it costs shooting victims so many others?

Watch President Obama's tearful address:

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