Obama responds to petitions against gun violence
December 21st, 2012
09:24 AM ET
5 years 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. chupacabra

    The second amendment stands......if our forefathers would have had full auto or semi-auto rifles don't you think they would have used them in the revolution, yes, and they would have written the same 2nd amendment. I am not a member of the NRA but I stand with them, I am a gun owner and always will be....as long as there is man there will be crime and violence...it's just the way it is.

    December 21, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  2. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    I am also calling on congress to make it MANDATORY for every school in America to have bullet proof reinforce classrooms that can be lock down and keep an intruder out until its occupants are able to call for outside help. I believe that project would cost us a whole lot less than what itcosts to send a man in space.

    December 21, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  3. spent

    The American flag this guy has on his jacket will soon be wearing the cycle/hammer symbol. It already does in his mind.

    December 21, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  4. chriswestii

    I think its important for Americans to understand that overt tragedies like the MANY we've had recently are a result of severe mental illness, fed by a culture of instant gratification alloyed with prolific violence. This is a perfect prescription for the gross assaults we've seen against our communities, and our society at large.

    Given our children are now direct targets, I as a father and fellow American citizen will tolerate NO MORE. The solutions will never come from our elected government. You have to see – red or blue – they are nothing more than a raging pool of piranha waiting for the next pile of money to attack. No, the answer will not come from elected government. It will only come from us. You and I. Neighbors, friends, family, the community itself.

    We must make the collective decision to take on this task and its workload in order to protect our future, also known as our children. Perhaps we can channel this emotion and energy into something quite positive and enduring. Who's with me?


    Christopher West II
    Sgt. USMC

    please copy, paste, add your name and share if you agree. thank you

    December 21, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  5. Charlie Daniels

    A famous man once said, “Now they're trying to take my guns away. And that would be just fine. If you take them away from the criminals first. I'll gladly give you mine.”

    To those of you that think a “Buy Back Program” would work – ha. Do you honestly think most owners would have their hand out for giving up their liberty and freedom or have their barrels pointed at the door?

    December 21, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  6. th

    Kudos Steven in VA. I grew up in a family that had guns but would like to see something change so people can't buy these semiautomatic rifles. Who needs these kind of guns to go hunting? If they can't hit what they are shooting at they should go to a rifle range and practice more.


    December 21, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Tell me more about how criminals will obey your new gun laws."

    Gun lovers in America securing their weapons from the naughty bad boys would be a start. You know. Shutting down gun show sales where no one knows your name. Or cares. Eliminating private gun sales. Registering weapons. Just a few suggestions and/or solutions. Feel free to add your own.

    December 21, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  8. rick from Texas

    Rudy NYC....really arm teachers? Most states can't even give teachers a decent salary and you want them to come up with more money to purchase guns and ammunition for teachers and administators. and lets not forget gun safety and firearm instuction classes. Where is that money coming from ??? Is the NRA going to fund this lame brain idea? OH wait I forgot the teachers will bring there own guns and ammo and get instruction on there own time ....thats how you must see it huh? WOW if you subscribe to any of this you need to rethink that. You (and your like) are a very scary person that needs help. Please have a safe and happy holiday.

    December 21, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  9. Brian

    Banning assault rifles wont fix the problem of "mass killings" 271 people have been killed in Mass shootings since 1949. That's is four people a year. Four people died in the time it took me to write this. Furthermore the "Musket" argument as I like to put it is not rational. Assuming the founding fathers meant for the citizenry to be armed. You can't us that argument because muskets were what the government was using at the time as well. SO by straight comparison the American people are LESS armed then the government today. The musket argument fails the Logic test sorry guys. However what we do need is some good common sense laws making purchasing weapons much harder to do. Strict background checks, forced education. And the tax payer has to be willing to pick up the tab to do it right. I know I wouldn't mind an extra 90 cents out of my paycheck each month knowing that everyone who buys a gun has to be checked out prior to purchase. Furthermore I think their are a lot more important health and safety issues that we should be concerned about before assault weapons. Cigarettes come to mind as a mass killer that does away more Americans then anything guns will ever do.

    December 21, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  10. Name lynn

    whos the blame for putting these guns on the streets and also hows the wrong people getting these guns and how can law stop all these shooting its sad so sad

    December 21, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  11. Anonymous

    @Sanity in Arizona,

    Something to think about! The first amendment was adopted during the time of the ink quill pen and printing press. They could not have imagined free speech being expressed by radio, TV or the internet. Therefore, the thoughts you expressed should be banned since you did not express them in a manner that they would have envisioned.

    December 21, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  12. Kelby in Houston, TX

    Oh...thank God the gun nuts are coming with the same tired fearful tactics they have been using. hopefully truth, logic and sanity will prevail and we will finally get the gun control we so desperately need. We will be able to catch up with the rest of the world

    December 21, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  13. marita

    I do not believe that changing gun-laws will have much of an impact, since criminals will always obtain their weapons illegally! It will, however, leave decent citizens without means of protecting themselves! However, nobody, other than our military/police, needs to have access to assault weapons! Also, background-checks should be intensified + include a mental-health profile, since this is were the true problems are! – @ Marita.

    December 21, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  14. Data Driven

    "Tell me more about how criminals will obey your new gun laws."

    Indeed. Perhaps you can tell ME more about how criminals will obey ANY laws. Why is murder against the law? - murderers still exist. Why is drunk driving against the law? - drunk drivers still drive drunk. Criminals break laws; so why have any laws?

    December 21, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  15. VTGuy

    the same crazy liberal lefties calling for gun control due to the shooting of kids are the same liberal lefties who vote for abortions killing thousands of babies each year. Liberal lefties only have their own narrow agenda to follow, regardless of the constitution, 10 commandments, or any other form of law.

    December 21, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  16. As I see it.

    To those of you who say that the founding fathers wrote the second amendment in a time when there were only single shot muskets. And that they couldn't have imagined modern rifles. They wrote this amendment so people could protect themselves from an overreaching government. Could they have imagined police using gps tracking devices on peoples cars without warrants ? A government that collects data of people who have commited no crime via super computers ? Police forces that use drones to spy on people from above their property ?

    December 21, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  17. yogi

    There is an obscene fascination with guns in America. The NRA has an obscene control on gun laws and elected officials. In addition there is a glorification with violence in general, if not, there would be far less violence on tv and in the movies, the product would not sell. Guns=insanity.

    December 21, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  18. The REAL Truth...

    @spent – The American flag this guy has on his jacket will soon be wearing the cycle/hammer symbol. It already does in his mind.
    this comment indicates the state of mind of the right wing sheeple voters.. and too much fox news propaganda. Check out some FACTS people... in the last 100 yrs the THREE major ECONOMIC collapses in the USA were CAUSED BY REPUBLICAN administrations. Each time the DEM's solved the issue and we moved forward, as we are doing now. It's a shame that the red states have cut education to the core and now have a bunch of uneducated red neck sheeple voting for them. IQ testing should be mandatory for every GOTP voter..

    December 21, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  19. America

    Most of these comments are just you being reaction instead of trying to plan this out or think it through. He could have just as easily placed a nail bomb in the school. What would we be doing then? Try to ban the bulk sale of nails? This is not a gun issue, it is a mental health issue, and by the comments I have read here, most of you need to be checked out. Want no republicans in office? Then move to a communistic country where there is no compromise.

    December 21, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  20. myviewis

    Stephen in VA

    Amazing how so many people have more fear of someone taking away their right to buy semiautomatic military-style rifles than they do of someone using one to gun down more kids at a school.

    Because REALITY tells us that criminals will not give up their guns, will always find a way to get their hands on a gun (small or large) and people fear not being able to protect themselves against a criminal. Having more police presence in our communities and full-time stationed police officers in school will make a difference and they are trained to handle a criminal with a gun. More laws will not stop criminals.

    December 21, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  21. Enough BS

    No sense talking to the illiterate liberals about what constitutes an 'assault weapon' and what does not. No sense reminding them that the CT shooter could have done the same amount of carnage or more with a 12 gauge pump and buckshot and his two pistols. No sense telling them government might ban sales of large capacity magazines, but can't enforce it because magazines are not serialized. Gun enthusiasts, patriots, supporters of the 2nd Amendment, write/call/email your legislators and tell them we expect them to resist the gun-grabbers. And stock up on your ARs/AKs , large capacity magazines just in case the mob mentality rules. I am.

    December 21, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  22. Matthew

    The Gun Free School Zone law was passed in 1990. Before that there were three school shootings. The three spanned 72 years. After the law was passed, we have had between 1 and 6 shootings a year. The gun control LAW is what is getting these kids killed, and it's time we started working to get it repealed.

    December 21, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  23. HoustonOilMan

    The right to bear arms does not mean the right to bear weapons of mass destruction otherwise I should have the right to have my own personla nuke. Where does it stop? This is what should happen:
    1. All semi automatic weapons wtih a capacity of more than 10 rounds should be banned without any grandfathering in.
    2. All large capacity magazines of more than 10 rounds should be banned without any grandfathering in.
    3. Private sale of guns should be outlawed, any sales should be through a certified dealer.
    4. Gun ownership should be licensed by takeing extensive training and testing like driving a car.
    5. Gun ownership should also have to pass a mental health screening.
    6. Both of the above two should be renewed every three years.
    7. Posession of a firearm without a license should be a mandatory 1 year prison sentence or cevic service.
    8. Three convictions of posession without a licesne would impose a lifetime ban on ownership.
    You still have the right to bear arms you just have to be responsible to do society.

    December 21, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  24. myviewis

    Eliminating private gun sales.

    If it's a Private Gun Sale than how do you propose to shut it down, isn't that why they call it Private??????? Do you really think criminals buy their guns legally, in a store????????? So in your imagination the only people that will have guns are the criminals and the police officers. How does a person defend themselves and their family against a criminal on the property, especially people living on huge properties, a ranch, a farm or traveling by road????????

    December 21, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  25. Dean

    Obama has announced a new effort to find proposals that could potentially lead to legislation against gun violence....................................................Do we not already have legislation against gun violence?????????Boy, Obama is a genius for that statement.

    December 21, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
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