Skip to comments.President Obama: We must seek agreement on gun reforms
Posted on 03/13/2011 7:26:43 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
It's been more than two months since the tragedy in Tucson stunned the nation. It was a moment when we came together as one people to mourn and to pray for those we lost. And in the attack's turbulent wake, Americans by and large rightly refrained from finger-pointing, assigning blame or playing politics with other people's pain.
But one clear and terrible fact remains. A man our Army rejected as unfit for service; a man one of our colleges deemed too unstable for studies; a man apparently bent on violence, was able to walk into a store and buy a gun.
He used it to murder six people and wound 13 others. And if not for the heroism of bystanders and a brilliant surgical team, it would have been far worse.
But since that day, we have lost perhaps another 2,000 members of our American family to gun violence. Thousands more have been wounded. We lose the same number of young people to guns every day and a half as we did at Columbine, and every four days as we did at Virginia Tech.
Every single day, America is robbed of more futures. It has awful consequences for our society. And as a society, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to put a stop to it.
Now, like the majority of Americans, I believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. And the courts have settled that as the law of the land. In this country, we have a strong tradition of gun ownership that's handed from generation to generation. Hunting and shooting are part of our national heritage. And, in fact, my administration has not curtailed the rights of gun owners - it has expanded them, including allowing people to carry their guns in national parks and wildlife refuges.
The fact is, almost all gun owners in America are highly responsible. They're our friends and neighbors. They buy their guns legally and use them safely, whether for hunting or target shooting, collection or protection. And that's something that gun-safety advocates need to accept. Likewise, advocates for gun owners should accept the awful reality that gun violence affects Americans everywhere, whether on the streets of Chicago or at a supermarket in Tucson.
I know that every time we try to talk about guns, it can reinforce stark divides. People shout at one another, which makes it impossible to listen. We mire ourselves in stalemate, which makes it impossible to get to where we need to go as a country.
However, I believe that if common sense prevails, we can get beyond wedge issues and stale political debates to find a sensible, intelligent way to make the United States of America a safer, stronger place.
I'm willing to bet that responsible, law-abiding gun owners agree that we should be able to keep an irresponsible, law-breaking few - dangerous criminals and fugitives, for example - from getting their hands on a gun in the first place.
I'm willing to bet they don't think that using a gun and using common sense are incompatible ideas - that we should check someone's criminal record before he can check out at a gun seller; that an unbalanced man shouldn't be able to buy a gun so easily; that there's room for us to have reasonable laws that uphold liberty, ensure citizen safety and are fully compatible with a robust Second Amendment.
That's why our focus right now should be on sound and effective steps that will actually keep those irresponsible, law-breaking few from getting their hands on a gun in the first place.
First, we should begin by enforcing laws that are already on the books. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System is the filter that's supposed to stop the wrong people from getting their hands on a gun. Bipartisan legislation four years ago was supposed to strengthen this system, but it hasn't been properly implemented. It relies on data supplied by states - but that data is often incomplete and inadequate. We must do better.
Second, we should in fact reward the states that provide the best data - and therefore do the most to protect our citizens.
Third, we should make the system faster and nimbler. We should provide an instant, accurate, comprehensive and consistent system for background checks to sellers who want to do the right thing, and make sure that criminals can't escape it.
Porous background checks are bad for police officers, for law-abiding citizens and for the sellers themselves. If we're serious about keeping guns away from someone who's made up his mind to kill, then we can't allow a situation where a responsible seller denies him a weapon at one store, but he effortlessly buys the same gun someplace else.
Clearly, there's more we can do to prevent gun violence. But I want this to at least be the beginning of a new discussion on how we can keep America safe for all our people.
I know some aren't interested in participating. Some will say that anything short of the most sweeping anti-gun legislation is a capitulation to the gun lobby. Others will predictably cast any discussion as the opening salvo in a wild-eyed scheme to take away everybody's guns. And such hyperbole will become the fodder for overheated fundraising letters.
But I have more faith in the American people than that. Most gun-control advocates know that most gun owners are responsible citizens. Most gun owners know that the word "commonsense" isn't a code word for "confiscation." And none of us should be willing to remain passive in the face of violence or resigned to watching helplessly as another rampage unfolds on television.
As long as those whose lives are shattered by gun violence don't get to look away and move on, neither can we.
We owe the victims of the tragedy in Tucson and the countless unheralded tragedies each year nothing less than our best efforts - to seek consensus, to prevent future bloodshed, to forge a nation worthy of our children's futures.
Screw you, you SOB!
Good time to pitch anti-nuke policies too? /s
Snake oil salesman.
I’m stunned. /sarc.
They left out about the failure of the local sheriffs department, wonder why???
Marx, Stalin, Hitler, Castro, Chavez, Pol Pot and every other Commie Democrat including Clinton and Carter want to restrict firearms.
Obama is merely a Marxist liar.
We MUST???? He is musting me again I see. FUBO
never let a crisis go to waste
our potus is a lying piece of excrement.
another person, a radical muslim soldier in our own armed forces killed many more and represents a helluva bigger threat to our country than the nutjob in arizona.
the the muslim in chief will not do anything about that.
FUBO....... Go right ahead Buckwheat, flip the switch, pull the pin, roll the dice. Just know that you may very well not like the outcome and you won’t be able to stop it.
Don’t let fear and common sense hold you back, boy. Quit talking about it, just follow your heart, a$$hole.
Okay, Barack, let’s talk about all the gun violence perpetrated by the youth gangs on the south side of Chicago. Let’s talk about the gun violence perpetrated by the youth gangs on the west side of Chicago.
We talk about gun violence in general terms, without talking about those who are perpetrating much of the violence.
Are we allowed to talk about the feral youth gangs, who settle all slights, real and imagined, at the barrel of a gun?
I know that not all murders are committed by gangs, but, just saying, that a major part of gun crimes and murder in this country are never discussed in specifics.
I assume that due to political correctness, we can’t talk about the gangs and guns. We can decry gun violence in general terms, without talking about some specific categories of these crimes.
Didn’t the kids mother work for the county or something??
“common sense” are Lib code words used to try and circumvent the constitution.
Add union members (you know, the kind who engage in violence and issue death threats), folks who REALLY belong on a public internet registry somewhere, and you might get a little grudging agreement.
But let's be blunt. The folks you don't want to have guns are going to get them anyway. The ONLY purpose of restricting gun ownership is to deny everyone's Second Amendment rights.
If they're too dangerous to possess a gun, they're too dangerous to be on the street.
Ok... here’s our agreement.. you keep your hands and nose out of our guns.. and we won’t SHOW YOU how they WORK
Guns for me but not for thee bump.
We should start by throwing the heads of the ATF in prison for allowing illegal gun sales to the Mexican drug lords.