Now Is The Time to Take
Action Against Gun Violence
President Obama delivered the weekly
presidential address. The president reiterated his commitment to
implement a series of measures that would reduce gun violence in
Hi, everybody. This
week, I announced a series of concrete steps we should take to protect
our children and our communities from gun violence.
These proposals grew out of meetings Vice President Biden and his task
force held over the last month with more than 200 different groups Ė
from parents and teachers; to law enforcement and sportsmen; to
religious leaders and mental health professionals.
And in the weeks ahead, I will do everything in my power to make them a
reality. Because while we may not be able to prevent every senseless act
of violence in this country, if there is even one thing we can do to
reduce it Ė if even one life can be saved Ė weíve got an obligation to
My administration is taking a series of actions right away Ė from
strengthening our background check system, to helping schools hire more
resource officers if they want them, to directing the Centers for
Disease Control to study the best ways to reduce gun violence.
But the truth is, making a real and lasting difference also requires
Congress to act Ė and act soon.
First, itís time for Congress to require a universal background check
for anyone trying to buy a gun. The law already requires licensed gun
dealers to perform these checks, but as many as 40% of all gun purchases
are conducted without one. Thatís not safe, itís not smart, and itís not
fair to responsible gun buyers or sellers. An overwhelming majority of
Americans agree that anyone trying to buy a gun should at least have to
prove theyíre not a felon, or someone legally prohibited from owning
one. Thatís just common sense.
Second, Congress should restore a ban on military-style assault weapons,
and a 10-round limit for magazines. Many assault rifles, when combined
with high-capacity magazines, have one purpose and one purpose only: to
fire as many bullets as possible as quickly as possible. These weapons
have no place in our communities. And a majority of the American people
agree with me.
Finally, Congress needs to make it easier, rather than harder, for law
enforcement to do its job. We should get tougher on people who buy guns
only to turn around and sell them to criminals. And at a time when many
communities have been forced to make cuts to their police force, we
should put more cops back on the job and back on the street.
Like most Americans, I believe the Second Amendment guarantees an
individual right to bear arms. We have a strong tradition of gun
ownership in this country, and the vast majority of gun owners act
But I also believe most gun owners agree that we can respect the Second
Amendment while keeping an irresponsible, law-breaking few from causing
harm on a massive scale. Thatís what these reforms are designed to do.
None of this will be easy. Already, weíre seeing pundits, politicians,
and special-interest lobbyists calling any attempt at commonsense reform
an all-out assault on liberty Ė not because thatís true, but because
thatís how they get higher ratings and make more money. And behind the
scenes, theyíre doing everything they can to protect the status quo.
this time, it canít be up to them. Itís got to be up to you. If, like
me, you want this time to be different, then I need your help to make it
different. Ask your Member of Congress if they support universal
background checks and renewing a ban on military-style assault weapons
and high-capacity magazines. And if the answer is no, ask them why not.
Ask them why an A-grade from the gun lobby is more important than
keeping kids safe in a first grade classroom.
Since the tragedy in Newtown, Iíve gotten letters from all over the
country Ė including many from our young people. One of them was from
8-year-old Rachel, who lives in Brooklyn, New York. She wrote: ďPlease
do something so that bad people cannot get guns to kill other people.
Children should be safe, especially in school.Ē
Rachel is counting on us. Letís get this done for her, and letís make
this country a safer place for all our children to learn and grow.