President Obama is unveiling his new executive actions on guns.

Speaking at the White House, the President argued that there have been too many deadly mass shootings in the U.S. during his tenure.

He said the nation needs to feel a sense of urgency about curbing gun violence and insisted that common sense steps can be taken.

Obama said he believes in constitutional protections on gun ownership.

The executive actions aim to broaden federal background checks and tighten loopholes on the sale of firearms at gun shows and on the Internet.

The President repeated a call to Congress to pass broader "common sense gun safety measures."

He accused the powerful gun lobby of holding lawmakers hostage.

Obama will ask Congress to authorize another half-a-billion dollars to treat mental illness.

His executive actions seeks to limit the ability of criminals and mentally unstable people to get guns.

It will also require more gun sellers to get licenses and will seek to get a better handle on tracking lost or stolen guns.

The initiative also seeks to boost gun safety technology.

Obama's moves are facing criticism from both sides.

Congressional Republicans accuse him of executive overreach and vow to challenge the executive actions in court.

Meantime, some gun control groups say the actions do not go nearly far enough.

Families of shooting victims were invited to the East Room ceremony to hear the President's remarks.

Some held up pictures of fallen family members.

Obama was introduced by Mark Barden, whose son Daniel was killed in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012.

Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords sat in the front row. She was seriously injured in a deadly mass shooting in Tucson in 2011.

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