Barack Obama called for lawmakers of both parties to work together to stop violence, not only the sudden massacres but also to decrease the drip of urban crime that has cost many young lives.
“We should leave no stone unturned and recognize that we have no greater mission that keeping our young people safe,” Obama said in a speech to the National Urban League.
“I, like most Americans, believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual the right to bear arms,” the President said in New Orleans.
“I think we recognize the traditions of gun ownership that passed on from generation to generation. That hunting and shooting are part of a cherished national heritage.”
He went on, adding: “But I also believe that a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals. That they belong on the battlefield of war, not on the streets of our cities.”
“I believe the majority of gun owners would agree we should do everything possible to prevent criminals and fugitives from purchasing weapons, and we should check someone’s criminal record before they can check out a gun seller.”
Barack Obama also urged to set new restrictions which would forbid mentally unstable people to purchasing weapons, reports The Huffington Post.
“These steps shouldn’t be controversial. They should be common sense,” he said. “We must also understand that when a child opens fire on other children, there’s a hole in his heart that no government can fill.”
Obama’s main rival in presidential elections has previously predicted that additional laws would not have stopped the massacre in Colorado. The Republican nominee has also criticized gun control measures in the past.
In response, President Obama noted that the political appetite to tackle the issue was low. “Too often those efforts are defeated by politics and by lobbying and eventually by the pull of our collective attention elsewhere,” he said.
“Other steps to reduce violence have been met with opposition in Congress. This has been true for some time, particularly when it touches on the issue of guns.”
Obama’s comments considering gun control come six days after 12 people were killed and 58 wounded when a gunman opened fire at a premiere of the latest Batman movie in the Denver suburb of Aurora.
The attempt to kill then-congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in January 2011, in which six people were killed and 14 wounded, also sparked a debate over how to reduce violence.
For the President, the address to the National Urban League was an obligatory step to a voting bloc that overwhelmingly backs him but that has sustained much of the brunt of the economic downturn, CBS News writes.
Obama’s speech also included the promotion of his economic and health care policies, tailoring what has become a standard campaign speech to his African-American audience.
He also singled out initiatives that have helped Americans in general, and African-Americans in particular. But, as he did during his previous campaign four years ago, Obama also pressed personal responsibility.
He said young Americans are competing against kids in Beijing and Bangalore. “You know, they’re not hanging out … they’re not playing video games, they’re not watching `Real Housewives,”‘ he said. “I’m just saying. It’s a two-way street. You’ve got to earn success.”