Watch: President Obama lays out his gun control proposals

Advance video to 42 minutes to watch President Obama lay out his gun control plan

President Obama announced today that he’ll act on his own authority to expand background checks for would-be gun buyers, increase enforcement of existing laws, help those suffering from mental illness and boost gun safety technology.

"This is not a plot to take away everybody's guns," he said in a speech Tuesday morning.

Obama's move falls short of his stated goals. His executive actions neither close the so-called gun-show loophole nor require universal background checks, two possibilities he had directed aides to explore amid a spate of mass shootings in the fall.

"The United States of America is not the only country with violent and dangerous people," Obama said. "We are not inherently more prone to violence. But we are the only advanced country on Earth that sees this kind of mass violence erupt with this kind of frequency.

"We do have to feel a sense of urgency about it," he said. "Because people are dying. And the constant excuses for inaction ... no longer suffice.

"The gun lobby may be holding Congress hostage right now, but they cannot hold America hostage. We do not have to accept this carnage as a price of freedom."

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Christi Parsons