Obama outlines plan for gun reform
March 13th, 2011
06:14 PM ET
4 years ago

Obama outlines plan for gun reform

Washington (CNN) - More than two months after the fatal shootings in Tucson, Arizona, President Obama staked out his position in the gun control debate.

In an op-ed in The Arizona Daily Star, Obama acknowledged the role of guns in American society, while warning of their dangers.

"Every single day, America is robbed of more futures. It has awful consequences for our society," Obama wrote, adding that "we have a strong tradition of gun ownership that's handed from generation to generation."

He outlined three "sound and effective" steps to keep "those irresponsible, law-breaking few from getting their hands on a gun in the first place," including enforcing laws already on the books, rewarding states that provide the best data and therefore do the most to protect their citizens and making the system for background checks "faster and nimbler."

Following the shootings in Tucson that left six dead and 13 others wounded, some members of Congress voiced support for tougher gun regulation legislation, but the political reality for Democrats particularly in Southern states meant the matter failed to gain traction.

Even though the president did not tackle the issue of gun control during his State of the Union address, White House officials said they would address the topic at some point.

In Sunday's piece, Obama said he understands discussions about gun control "can reinforce stark divides."

"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," Obama wrote. "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."

In a joint statement Sunday, the bipartisan group Mayors Against Illegal Guns said they "strongly agree" with the president's proposals.

"We can – and must – respect the Second Amendment and the rights of law-abiding gun owners while still tackling this problem," the statement said. "And we look forward to working with him (President Obama) to ensure that the new national dialogue he has called for culminates in real solutions.”

- CNN Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry contributed to this report


Filed under: Arizona • Gun rights • President Obama
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. ingrid

    Good for him. Better regulations are the step in the right direction.

    March 13, 2011 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  2. Debbie

    Mr. Obama, it's not just the Southern states that doesn't have common sense, it's the whole United States. They do not care about keeping the gums out of the hands of the irresponsible law breaking few. They just want to start (MESS) as we southerner's would say, they will try telling everybody that Obama is trying to take away their right to bear arms. Some people are just that stuip to believe it. This could be just one less gun headed to our third grade class. Just think about it people. First, get Boehner's permission since you can't think for yourselves.

    March 13, 2011 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  3. B

    What a blather of platitudes for the masses. Just what we should expect as before, don’t do a damn thing about Gun Control because you might just offend the NRA who own politicians with election donations.

    Just like never doing anything about Mexican Drug Kings getting most of their weapons from THIS country.

    Again we will all be -so shocked- at the next murder in the streets of some politician.

    We talk a lot about doing things until the next news cycle and then back to complacency.

    March 13, 2011 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  4. Clwyd

    Repeal the 2nd Amendment and ban guns that kill families, people at Malls, in schools, in the homes and on the streets. The laws were made for a "standing army" not every Tom, Dick and Crazy!

    March 13, 2011 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  5. ted

    Repubthugs – bear in mind this is the first mention of gun controls from Obama. The republicans had their panties tied in knots prior to Obama's inauguration that he was going to do away with guns. Didn't happen until a congresswoman was shot. Keep that in mind Repubthugs, the same ones of you that want Sarah Palin as your prez candidate. Also bear in mind that he is talking about good gun control and not prohibiting guns, the way you repub thugs will spin what he is saying. I don't care if people have guns, just don't go committing crimes with them. Collect them, shoot traps, shoot targets, but don't use them against people unless you are really threatened.

    March 13, 2011 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  6. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Oh Oh. The cartoon character from the NRA, Pepe LaPierre, is not going to be happy. In Florida, the state house was considering allowing college students to carry guns on campus. Since college students appear to drink a lot, that might not be a good idea. Californian Connie Mack, who represents south west Florida will be at the Harborside in Fort Myers tomorrow.

    March 13, 2011 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  7. Sam

    Those who are criminals don't follow the law anyways. So by implementing gun regulations you only hurt the law abiding citizens. Need proof? Ask the U.K., Canada, and Japan how it's working out for them.

    March 13, 2011 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  8. cykill45

    here we go. thanks alot crazies that go on shooting rampages. tools.

    March 13, 2011 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  9. Greg Scott

    Why not focus on the damage done to lives, families, livelyhoods, jobs, and the economy that have been done to the people of the country by the fatcats on wallstreet and the banking industy, etc? Those greedy bastards have done more harm to the country than any gun owner. Go after them.

    March 13, 2011 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  10. kyle

    Every time the President says gun, the right wing nuts run out and buy up all the guns, gun and bullets makers are smiling.

    March 13, 2011 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  11. John Z

    "Crime Control,Not Gun Control"

    March 13, 2011 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  12. Obamacare = Romneycare v1.01

    I thought Obama had more senes than to bring this issue up. I hope the GOP and NRA rip him two new ones for being so stupid.

    March 13, 2011 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  13. dadguy

    Bottom line Mr President, no one's Constitutional Rights should be removed or abridged without due process and national consensus via an amendment to said document. Regardless of this or that high profile victim story and media hype piece, gun violence by lawful owners is statistically non existent. YOU, as in our leadership at all levels, FAILS consistently to manage the criminal element and protect the public. THAT is your job. The rest of us can take care of ourselves, thanks.

    March 13, 2011 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  14. NoTax

    Obama, stop doing nothing, you has to improve economy!!!

    March 13, 2011 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  15. terry, va

    Obummie needs to stick to the real issues in this country instead running his mouth about something else he wants to screw up. IT'S THE ECONOMY STUPID!!!!!

    March 13, 2011 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  16. Monster Zero

    I am sure that millions of Americans would be willing to give up their guns, bullets first of course.

    2012 can't get here soon enough!

    March 13, 2011 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  17. RN

    Leave it to Obama to try to bring people together to solve problems.
    Where's Palin and Bachman on all of this?
    I want to see blood and guts. I want to see a fight. I don't know why we can't just return to the good old days of gun fights and everyone carries a six-shooter. Come on GOP – oppose this pansy push for sanity and life. Let's see blood on the streets.

    March 13, 2011 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  18. George

    So, pretty much no changes then. Sounds good.

    March 13, 2011 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  19. terry, va

    How about working on the federal budget...the deficit....foreign affairs or.uniting the country, that you have divided more than any other president. This community organizer jumps from pillar to post and screws up everything he touches.

    March 13, 2011 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  20. MJB

    There is no way you can keep guns out of the crdeedpy criminals. They will always have ways to get them. Buy them, get them through friends or enemies, get them by mail order or pony express. We can't even keep Illegals out from crossing our borders. States that surround us. Inside many more creeps than that, so how do you think you can stop them. I will always keep mine no matter what. Our laws cannot protect us so we will protect ourselves.

    March 13, 2011 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  21. Jon in Madison

    "Every single day, America is robbed of more futures. It has awful consequences for our society," Obama wrote:

    If this is his defense for gun control, why can't he apply it to his stance on abortion?

    March 13, 2011 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  22. JRA

    I agree with most of Obama's comments. Comments are indeed what they are. He does not hold any power given by the people of the United States to make any laws, despite what he might like to believe, and despite what he tried to do in his first 2 years. Political talk aside, I agree with most of what he says. As a former NRA member, and owner of 20+ guns, I think the time is right to refuse the right of gun ownership from "those irresponsible, law-breaking few" in our society. We remove the right of multiple DUI recipients from driving a car, don't we? Can anyone disagree with that? If Obama can truly persuade Congress to making the system for background checks "faster and nimbler", more power to him. Remember, Obama does not have the right to do this himself. All he can do is suggest the idea to Congress. I think sometimes he forgets this. This is not a dictatorship, but a democracy. However, the president must lead, and if he would just learn to tame his rhetoric a bit, he might make more headway in this Congress. I am worried about a president who uses a tragedy to make a political point. Please refrain, Mr. Obama. Finallly, rewarding states who , rewarding states " that provide the best data " is way out of line with mainsteam America. Have you checked the deficit numbers lately? We are broke! The printing press is down for repairs! We can't "award" states for anything right now, as we have NO MONEY! Respectfully yours, RJA

    March 13, 2011 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  23. jules sand-perkins

    "Law-abiding" is one of the most operative phrases to be considered in this issue.
    Since I have never broken any law that would prohibit my ownership of a gun, I should be free to own any gun I want.
    The problem will come when some well-meaning fool says, "yes, you have every right to own that gun, but you wouldn't want THAT particular gun unless you were planning to break some law."
    If I've never broken the law, it's none of the do-gooder fool's business what I want to do with any particular gun: I may be planning to boil it in basilico and try to have it for dinner–and that's also not against the law.
    Law-abiding: very important, freedom-maintaining word.

    March 13, 2011 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  24. Jeff Spangler

    Would anything have prevented this killer from getting this gun to kill these people? If he had no criminal or mental health record, I don't think so. Gun control is a political football. What we need is a way to identify and control crazy people before they do any harm. So far, this has eluded us.

    March 13, 2011 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  25. ThinkAgain

    The loophole that allows guns to be sold at gun shows without background checks MUST BE CLOSED!

    This is where all the nutjobs, who would otherwise not be able to buy a gun, go to buy whatever they want.

    I also think we should have a five-day waiting period prior to purchasing a weapon.

    With every right comes responsibility; and if you aren't mature enough to wait five days for a weapon, then you shouldn't be owning one.

    March 13, 2011 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
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