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. Wilson

    The nation is still reeling over the dreadful events in Newtown, Connecticut, one week ago. We mourn the tragic loss of life, and we weep and pray for the families who won't have a son or a daughter to open presents under the Christmas tree this year. We wish that we could, as one nation, just pause and reflect. The last thing we want is a political fight. But even so, we won't stand idly by while some use Newtown's pain to justify taking away our Liberty

    December 21, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  2. Tracy

    I wasn't an NRA member....now I am!

    December 21, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  3. Wilson

    Evil exists in the world, and yet too many people seem shocked that an evil man would take the lives of 20 six- and seven-year-old children, six adults at the school and even the life of his own mother. That isn't to say that the horrific crime isn't shocking, but it is to say a sober view of reality is needed.

    December 21, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  4. LetsBeCivil

    "offer meaningful contributions" from the NRA... yeah right... we'll see how that works out.

    December 21, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  5. Data Driven

    OK, I gotta go to work, but I have to reply to chriswestii first:

    The Preamble of the US Constitution: "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

    And from Lincoln's Gettysburg address: "... government of the people, by the people, for the people ..."

    Unless you want to change the nature of our government - and on some days, that seems like a good idea - the mandate for action that you're describing Constitutionally and historically depends on the notion that WE, in fact, ARE the government. We elect representatives to do those things enumerated in the Preamble. For many of us, providing for the common defense and promoting the general welfare of our communities means asking our representatives to do whatever is practicable to reduce the number of military-style assault weapons currently in circulation.

    Debates aside, thank you for your service to our country.

    December 21, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  6. Wilson

    Instead, the Left is almost uniform in hiding the evil behind its implements. Evil often takes things - sometimes very good things - and twists and distorts them for its own ends. Rather than admit the existence of evil, the Left blames the thing itself. Hence the renewed efforts at "gun control" at the federal level. It should be the mission of congressional Republicans to stop those who would use evil acts as an excuse to take away our very means of defending against that evil; to stop Barack Obama and his ilk from stacking up the coffins of innocent little children as a platform for their vile disarmament agenda.

    December 21, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    rick from Texas wrote:

    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 ???
    I see that you completely missed the sarcasm, "rick from Texas". Oops.

    December 21, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  8. Enough BS

    I like the musket analogy re the 2nd amendment. ROFLMAO I hear the Syrian rebels are calling for muzzle loading muskets right now!! And ask Mr Assad how those rifle toting rebels are faring against his tanks and planes. If their is to be change to the 2nd Amendment it should be '...right to bear personal longarms/sidearms commensu"rate with the standing armies of the day... " THe gun-grabbers forgot to read the ...."shall not be infringed" part , i guess because they are "unhinged".

    December 21, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  9. Lynda/Minnesota

    "I wasn't an NRA member....now I am!"

    How nice for you, Tracy. So do tell. How do we know YOU won't snap and go on a shooting rampage? How well do we know each other ... we Americans so intent on protecting our 2nd Admendment rights that we can't see the forest through the trees?

    December 21, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  10. Victoria


    banning assault weapons, in my opinion isn't the answer. if someone wants to do harm with a gun, they will find ways to get them somehow. just look at columbine as a perfect example.....the boys went to a gun show to buy weapons, but since they couldn't they recruited someone, unwittingly, who COULD......i don't think disarmament is the answer. we need better mental illness awareness first....then we need to look at who his parents are REALLY connected to behind the scenes......that might shed some light on the issue......were his parents connected to the gov. somehow? and if so, then they must have pissed someone off enough......just a thought and theory.......

    Conspiracy Theory much? Parents connected to the government? What are you even talking about? I probably shouldn't ask since I don't believe in condoning crazy talk.

    December 21, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  11. Nick

    Our Government was created as an experiment. Our forefathers wanted to try something different, but they made some accommodations to allow us to change this experiment along the way. These are spelled out in the constitution and it's seen in the law making process and even the amendment process. The last thing the did was protect our human (self-evident, inalienable) Rights from the government including a way to allow us to "hit the reset button" if the experiment failed.

    This is the reason for the 2nd amendment, hunting is covered under the separate Public Trust Doctrine. Read the 2nd amendment again (militia was defined as all 18+ males, BTW). This is what has kept and will keep our government in line, our power to change things by force if needed. That threat must be present or things become one sided real quick and history is the proof. Hilter had little trouble rounding up who he wanted because they had all been disarmed earlier in 1935. It took Japan 3 days to surrender when they no longer could match our force. Heck, gun control started in the south after the civil war because the whites didn't want the blacks to be able to own guns and fight back! (the NRA started a little later and fought those racially charged laws)

    December 21, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  12. Religion=Cult

    Please make me understand, do you really need automatic weapon to protect yourself? Do you really need weapon of war to protect your family, I am a gun owner, a postal is good enough for me.
    Tell me was there killer's mother did any thing wrong with her guns. She was a law binding gun owners like all gun owner claim. See what happened in Newtown?

    December 21, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  13. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Let's face it, if congress doesn't act now to get assault weapons banned, then in the wake of this heinous tragedy, the NRA will win in big time simply because many citizens who are against the sale of assault weapons would now see themselves buying assault weapons to defend themselves and families. Perhaps if this was to happen, the Founding Fathers would have accomplished their goal. An armed militia of the people wiping out its own colony. Good thinking fellas.

    December 21, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  14. JustanotherBrick

    I could not agree more!

    December 21, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  15. Enough BS

    Tracy, I used to be an NRA member a long time ago, but I stopped paying dues and ignored their letteers and phone calls because it seemed that American had finaally returned to sanity regarding gun control. But it seems they (the NRA) are right, the freedom-grabbers, and the liberty-deniers are gnashing their teeth. I just rejoined NRA too, lifetime member, this time.

    December 21, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  16. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer


    Never mind Tracy...perhaps if all Americans were to go out and start buying Bushmasters, the NRA would get scared and eventually call for a ban of all assault weapons. And I guarantee if all Americans were to suddenly go on a frenzy and start stocking up on assault weapons across the country like never before, congress would start getting serious about banning assault weapons. Perhaps I'll see you at a Wal-mart soon Lynda.

    December 21, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  17. David

    @ Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer
    I guess when you wrote "The NRA needs to be eliminated by federal order or by any means necessary", you have just given that wackos out there the permission they need to use "any means necessary" to get the job done. bombing, shooting. Boy, you folks that advocate violence(any means necessary) is ok for you as long as it is okayed by you...You want a dictatorship. Move to the middle east, you should enjoy it, just try to keep your head about you while you are there.

    December 21, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  18. Sandy

    Maybe guns should require an excessive, annual registration fee. The bigger the gun the higher the fee.

    December 21, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  19. Betty

    Everyone is pointing to guns but wha tabout the violent video games! Young adults seat and play this vidoe games shooting people all day long!
    What do you think this is doing to there brains!
    The video games went from innocent Mario to Sin City I think is called , where they get points for killing people
    Also is common sense that is having a trouble child at home you should not keep guns around or teach them how to use them or where they are hidding.
    Parents are failing to identify or on denial about there trouble kids.
    Please if you have a bipolar child , or a thief or a violent child try to find help whether at Church or with professionals
    I know is painfull to admitted but it is worst bringing pain to innocent people
    God help us all.....

    December 21, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  20. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    I've officially decided to join the NRA. I just hope the president of the NRA sits still while I aim.

    December 21, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  21. David

    @ Lynda/Minnesota "I wasn't an NRA member....now I am!"

    "How nice for you, Tracy. So do tell. How do we know YOU won't snap and go on a shooting rampage? How well do we know each other ... we Americans so intent on protecting our 2nd Admendment rights that we can't see the forest through the trees?"

    How do you know you wont. When you are psychotic you will do anything to make yourself feel better. Becarefull if you have any young ones or your kids have them, postpartum can hit at anytime. I have seen postpartum cause just as much pain and sorrow as this shoting did...

    December 21, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  22. Nietodarwin

    Surprise!!!! The NRA's "meaningful contribution" is to offer to train teachers to be armed. I've shot many many guns, and taught many many children. I know teachers and students wounded and killed by gunfire. I had a good reason for taking a gun to school, but I never did. Arming teachers is NOT the answer.

    December 21, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  23. Chris

    "irresponsible, law-breaking few"
    So, let's pass more laws that only serve to impact the already law-abiding gun owners and which will not be followed by the "law-breakers"???
    How about if we just hang up more signs indicating gun-free zones so that we can be sure these "law-breaking few" will be able to see them and avoid them? It will have the same impact.

    December 21, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  24. theabilitytolove

    I think that it's tragic that while the nation is mourning over the loss of these children and the adults in this horrifying massacre, that behind our backs, the President was willing to go back on his campaign promises and hurt many people in order to cut a deal with Boehner. Why doesn't he care enough to "hear us" on that issue and take a moment to explain why he is betraying us? It's troubling that while we are focused on a terrible tragedy, that dirty dealings are going on, believing the nation's back is turned to reality. I find it appalling...

    December 21, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  25. Charlie Daniels

    Imagine this. Your wife gets home from work and she finds a rapist in your house. He is armed as is she. Fortunately, she grabs the AR, Beretta A400, or XD-45 ACP (all semi-automatic with the same results) and cuts him in half. She lives, he dies miserably and life goes on. That sounds like a good thing to me. The outcome would have been quite different if your president had his way. The point is that the AR used is no different than any other weapon – high capacity magazines or not. In the right hands they are equally deadly. It comes down to responsible gun ownership – not pu$$ies and not politics.

    December 21, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
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