Obama responds to petitions against gun violence
December 21st, 2012
09:24 AM ET
1 year ago

Obama responds to petitions against gun violence

(CNN) – President Barack Obama responded personally Friday to numerous petitions against gun violence, a task normally left to other White House staff.

"I want to take a minute today to respond and let you know, we hear you," he said in a web video.

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The video came in response to 32 "We the People" petitions on gun control, many of them created after the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting. One of the petitions, found on the White House's website, amassed nearly 200,000 signatures.

Since last week's massacre, in which a gunman killed 27 people before taking his own life, Obama has announced a new effort to find proposals that could potentially lead to legislation against gun violence. He appointed Vice President Joe Biden as the leader of the new commission.

In his video address Friday, Obama reiterated that he believes the Second Amendment guarantees a right to bear arms and acknowledged the country's "strong tradition of gun ownership that's been handed down from generation to generation."

However, Obama said "the vast majority of responsible, law-abiding gun owners would be some of the first to say that we should be able to keep an irresponsible, law-breaking few from buying a weapon of war."

"I'm willing to bet that they don't think that using a gun and using common sense are incompatible ideas," he continued. "That an unbalanced man shouldn't be able to get his hands on a military-style assault rifle so easily."

The video was released hours before the National Rifle Association held a press conference, where the pro-gun rights group called for an armed guard to be placed in every school.

– CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.


Filed under: Gun rights • President Obama
soundoff (187 Responses)
  1. Data Driven

    I'm really looking forward to hearing the NRA's "meaningful contributions" to the prevention of mass shootings. Kevlar underwear for the tots? Armed teachers? Private security firms installing teams of 20 snipers on every campus? Lobbying for national legislation requiring all Americans to purchase an assault weapon? Nation-wide "conceal and carry" laws?

    Unless the NRA offers a different philosophy from what they've espoused over the decades, they should probably just be silent right now. Nobody wants to hear excuses, justifications, or loony ideas involving even MORE military-grade weapons in our daily lives.

    December 21, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    As usual........he has NO CLUE!

    We need to hear about solutions for the mentally ill, not for gun control. Every time people talk gun control, gun SALES go through the roof. Get a clue, Obama. Address the REAL problem.

    December 21, 2012 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  3. Gambi

    We must have a dialogue on violence, mental health and guns in America. We must take action to prevent the mass shootings that plague this country. Make no mistake I respect the 2nd amendment and I respect every man, women and child's right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. However there is no right when 20 children and their teachers are murdered by a maniac with an assault weapon. Too many precious lives lost, too many families shattered. There is no liberty and there is no happiness when these horrific events continue to happen.
    Be a voice.....
    There are 20 little angels in heaven counting on us to make this world a better place........Hear their voice.

    December 21, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  4. GEN. BETRAYUS....WHOOPS.....PETREUS

    We need to hear about solutions for the mentally ill, not for gun control.
    ---------------------------------------------------–
    How about solutions for both? If you think guns aren't an issue, then you've got mental health issues of your own.

    December 21, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Meanwhile, every Republican in the country is waiting for the NRA to make an announcement before they will speak about the issue.

    December 21, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  6. Jeff

    Actually, YOU need a clue because the FACTS are that mentally ill people very rarely take part in gun crimes. In fact, it's much more likely that the person is using alcohol or drugs rather than being mentally ill. Also, the mentally ill are more likely to be VICTIMS rather than perpetrators in crimes. Wag the dog some more... it's a great way to avoid the REAL problem of way too many guns.

    December 21, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  7. myviewis

    We need to make it mandatory that each school have a full-time police officer on the premises. Only police officers can handle a criminal, more laws in the books won't keep a criminal from getting a gun, seriously, since when do criminals buy guns legally anyways. I say more police presence in our communities is the answer to controlling crime.

    December 21, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  8. therealred5

    Rick: He has a clue and has addressed the real problem by trying to get health care for everyone, including those who are mentally ill, so they can receive the care they need.

    December 21, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  9. Name lynn

    what can obama do about these guns laws what can hes say to the or do in order not to let the people on the street or in guns shows give the wrong people these guns no one knows what these people is going to do its hurts our hearts that these killings taking place all over the world is there a way to stop so much killing

    December 21, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  10. Lynda/Minnesota

    "We need to hear about solutions for the mentally ill, not for gun control."

    I'm going for the "I'm totally cool on gun control" talking point and putting the whole mentally ill discussion on the back burner until we get the assault weapons out of circulation.

    I'm calling it putting the horse before cart.

    December 21, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  11. Rick McDaniels

    The real problem is guns. There are may ways to kill people, however the preferred method of murder is to use guns. We need gun control.

    December 21, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  12. Data Driven

    I agree, Rick McDaniel.

    I propose the following: taking about half of the money we save from the Pentagon budget after we sail over the so-called "fiscal cliff" to re-fund mental-health initiatives that had been in place before Ronald Reagan got rid of them. And since this is not really a zero-sum game, let's take the OTHER half of the Pentagon budget savings to initiate a buy-back program for as many assault weapons in this country as would be practicable. That can even be a "mini-stimulus" for those Americans that have those guns; I'm sure most would take the government up on the deal. Cash is cash. And none of this requires any NEW government spending!

    December 21, 2012 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  13. Wilson

    Well, the world did not end. But, the ending of America continues apace. The fundamental transformation of America from the greatest nation on this planet, to the world's largest nanny state is proceeding according to Obama's(and of course the behind the scenes string pullers) plan.

    December 21, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  14. Rudy NYC

    myviewis

    We need to make it mandatory that each school have a full-time police officer on the premises. Only police officers can handle a criminal, more laws in the books won't keep a criminal from getting a gun, seriously, since when do criminals buy guns legally anyways. I say more police presence in our communities is the answer to controlling crime.
    -----------------
    You're on the wrong page again. That's the liberal solution. Just look at what the Mayor Los Angeles is doing. He's sending a police officer to every public school, effective immediately, regardless of the cost.

    The right wing consensus says to arm the teachers because they've already committed themselves down the road that says we have too many police officers, and we need to cut their budgets. Allowing teachers to bring their pieces to the classrooms means you will not have to raise taxes to pay for the extra staffing that protecting every school would require.

    December 21, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  15. josh

    Data Driven: You do realize that you have to have a license to possess "military grade" weapons, right?

    A semi-automatic AR-15 is NOT military grade. The M16s the military uses aren't even fully automatic anymore. They're three-round burst or semi-auto. You have a selection on the side of the weapon.

    Take your fear mongering elsewhere. The nation needs to heal before we start throwing these political clowns into the mess.

    December 21, 2012 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  16. plain&simple

    Gotta love right wingers who call for police on every campus,then cut the funds. Much like the senators and congress members who complain about embassy protection....but cut the budget. Lip service!!! Put your money where your mouth is.

    December 21, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  17. kaetra

    I remember when they closed down the state sponsered redisential mental hospital in my home town. Some of the patients did not have a place to go to, no one claimed them or came to pick them up, and so they just turned them out on to the street. We actually saw a few people in hospital gowns wandering the streets for several days until homeless shelters finally took them in. I was in total shock that these helpless people were treated like stray animals. Shameful.

    December 21, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  18. Peach

    THis isn't a gun problem--its a mental health issue........getting rid of the guns will NOT solve this problem.

    December 21, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  19. Rudy NYC

    Wilson wrote:

    Well, the world did not end. But, the ending of America continues apace. The fundamental transformation of America from the greatest nation on this planet, to the world's largest nanny state is proceeding according to Obama's(and of course the behind the scenes string pullers) plan.
    ---------------------
    Nanny state? Haven't you noticed that all of the nanny states, taking in more federal dollars than what they pay in taxes, are all red states run by Republicans?

    December 21, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  20. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The point that people are missing is that there are many aspects to this problem. I don't forsee any one solution to this. People keep forgetting that there are many aspects to this that need to be adressed at once. Help for those that have mental illness needs to be a part ofhealth care because without the mind healthy, the body will do no good. We also need people to realize that assault weapons aren't needed for the average citizen; how many hunters need that kind of firepower? What are they hunting, a dinosaur? People also need to be more responsible with how they store their weapons and muntions. This is just the start.

    December 21, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  21. paul

    i just wish that someone at the school had a concealed weapon responsible for the safety of innocent kids. maybe that person could have put this nut-case down or got his attention enough to save some lives.

    December 21, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  22. johnnyb

    Obama needs to shut up for the next 4 years. Only then will the hate and divide that he has caused get resolved.

    December 21, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  23. sonny chapman

    Attention Hunters; We need a Divorce from the NRA. She's one ugly gal & it's embarrassing to be seen walking around town w/her holding our arm.

    December 21, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  24. CarolinaGirl

    Mr. McDaniel in response to your comment I agree something needs to be done with the mental health care problem however, we do need gun control and I believe our President stated that fact. However, you always dissagree with anything our President speaks on. The only comments I see from you is just Obama has no clue. Well, you are wrong. Get over it the country elected him.

    December 21, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  25. Washington Is Out Of Touch with reality

    This is what he really thinks, I obama speaks out, I am dictator obama and I will change America to my thinking and it will become ameribama and I shall be the supreme dictator and you will listen to me.

    December 21, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
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