WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Republican and Democratic presidential hopefuls split along party lines Wednesday in reaction to President Barack Obama's executive actions aimed at curbing gun violence.
Republican nomination contender Sen. Ted Cruz was among the harshest critics, posting a picture of Obama in a crown with the heading "Stop Obama's Unconstitutional Executive Action!"
"Gun control is government control," Cruz, of Texas, said on Twitter.
The tweet linked to a campaign website showing Obama dressed in military garb with the headline "Obama wants your guns. Support the protection of your Second Amendment rights!"
Obama announced measures, some of which require congressional approval, that aim at making it harder for criminals and the mentally ill to obtain guns. That includes provisions that narrow the so-called "gun show loophole" and legislation that will increase access to mental health services.
Republican front-runner Donald Trump accused Obama of "making an end-run around the Constitution, trying to go directly to executive order and restrict one of the basic, fundamental principles of our country."
He later added, "Look at Paris. If you had people in that room that had a revolver strapped to their belt, they had a gun strapped to someplace and ... the good guys could do a little shooting back, it wouldn't have been 130 people killed -- that I can tell you."
Other Republican presidential hopefuls took to Twitter and appeared on television to denounce the president's actions.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said the actions will "nothing to prevent violence or crimes" and condemned them as a punishment for law-abiding people who want to purchase weapons. He accused Obama of being "obsessed" with undermining the Second Amendment.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson echoed the sentiments. Carson said the president's actions "have everything to do with advancing his political agenda & little to do with actually protecting American citizens."
Any executive order President Obama signs that regulates firearms transactions will merely regulate the freedom of law abiding citizens.— Dr. Ben Carson (@RealBenCarson) January 5, 2016
At the same time, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton vowed to "take on that fight" and continue the push for gun control if elected.
"Thank you, @POTUS, for taking a crucial step forward on gun violence. Our next president has to build on that progress—not rip it away," she said on Twitter.
.@POTUS is right: We can protect the Second Amendment while protecting our families and communities from gun violence. And we have to.— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) January 5, 2016
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said he also backs Obama's actions and plans to keep them in place if elected.
"It's become clear that no mass shooting, no matter how big or bloody, will inspire Republicans to put children and innocent Americans over the interests of the NRA. They are simply more loyal to gun lobbyists than our children. That's why I support President Obama's executive actions to make our communities safer," Sanders said.