Even as he uses his executive powers to enact 23 measures that don't require the approval of Congress, President Barack Obama says there's only so much he can do to reduce gun violence unless lawmakers act.

He says that's what it will take to make a "real and lasting difference."

His executive orders include tougher penalties for people who lie on background checks.

And they give schools flexibility to use federal grant money to improve school safety.

A presidential memorandum will instruct the Centers for Disease Control to research causes and prevention of gun violence.

Obama wants Congress to renew and expand a ban on assault weapons, and limit high-capacity magazines.

And he wants lawmakers to close loopholes that permit private gun transactions to occur without background checks.

The White House says nearly 40 percent of gun sales are conducted by private individuals now exempt from checking the backgrounds of buyers.

North country Congressman Bill Owens is one of two Democrats in Congress with an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association. 

He called Obama's comments a good starting point from a discussion on gun control, but says it's important to protect Constitutional rights.

"What I want to do is make sure that whatever we do does a couple of things. Number one - solve the problem. We don't want to have any more tragedies like we had at Sandy Hook. Number two - we have to protect our Second Amendment rights. That is going to be difficult. I don't have the answer to that as I'm sitting here, but we have to work together to solve that problem," said Owens (D. - 21st District).

Beginning a sharp pushback against any new gun regulations, the National Rifle Association has posted a Web video that labels President Obama an "elitist hypocrite" for allowing his daughters to be protected by armed Secret Service agents while not embracing armed guards for schools.
A narrator asks in the video: "Are the president's kids more important than yours?"