In his final year in the White House, President Barack Obama is showing that, when it comes to gun control, he is no longer willing to wait around and play politics.

Tuesday afternoon the president, with tears streaming down his face, unveiled an executive order demanding criminal background checks for gun buyers in order to curb the country’s epidemic of gun violence, the New York Times reported. The action was taken to side-step a Congress that has proven too willing to do nothing with little option to address gun control in the public arena after another tragedy proves that we are too late.

“The gun lobby may be holding Congress hostage right now,” Mr. Obama said, “but they can’t hold America hostage.”

According to data collected by the Gun Violence Archive, more than 1,700 people were killed or injured in mass shootings in 2015. Additionally, last year there were more mass shootings than days of the year. But in the face of these sobering statistics, national action was left at a stand still. With each presidential address, conservative politicians, aligned with the National Rifle Association and the gun lobby, would deflect taking a course of action by citing the protection of the second amendment rights.

In his speech Tuesday, Mr. Obama not only showed that the right to life trumped the right the bear arms.

The 10-point directive takes aim at a number of loopholes. The qualifications of a gun seller will be expanded to include Internet vendors, mandatory firearm licenses for dealers, strict enforcement of current gun laws. Additionally, money will be spent toward supporting mental illness—the common scapegoat for mass shootings—and provide protection for domestic abuse.

And it could not have come at a better time. Less than a week into the new year, an analysis from Vocativ showed that 147 people have already died because of gun violence.

Mr. Obama’s full remarks can be found here:

Photo credit: Youtube screenshot

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