On Tuesday, President Obama unveiled new gun control initiatives from the White House, which will take the form of a series of executive actions. Before Obama took to the podium, he was introduced by a man who said he has grieved the loss of a loved one to gun violence. Who is Mark Barden, the man who introduced Obama? He is the father of Sandy Hook victim Daniel Barden, whose name the president invoked in his speech. Since first seeing Obama speak after the Sandy Hook tragedy, Barden has been a staunch supporter of the president's fight to end gun violence.
Barden stated that "far too many lives have been lost to gun tragedies in this country." He himself has experienced this unspeakable tragedy. His seven-year-old son Daniel was shot and killed at his elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. "As a nation, we have to do better," he urged.
Barden also recounted a previous occasion on which he introduced President Obama, in April 2013. During that statement, which came after members of Congress blocked a gun control bill, Barden recalls Obama delivering a message with "genuine passion and commitment" and promising not to give up.
But another thought came to his mind: "I remember thinking, 'Who's going to help him with this?'" Barden, who is a member of the nonprofit Sandy Hook Promise, vowed to entrench himself alongside the president in the fight to prevent gun violence. Since then, he's worked with other advocacy groups and organizations, such as the Gun Violence Prevention Coalition, to help raise awareness and enact change.
In his April 2013 speech before introducing the president in the Rose Garden, Barden expressed disappointment in Congress' decision to block a bill that would have closed loopholes to allow criminals to purchase guns without background checks. While disappointed, he said, he was not "defeated."
That road has led to Obama's latest executive action, which will require more people who sell guns at shops, shows, and online to require background checks for their customers. He told reporters ahead of his announcement Tuesday that his new measures were well within the Second Amendment, and are not meant to violate gun owners' rights.