President Obama addresses gun violence at conference in New Orleans
In light of the Colorado movie theater massacre that occurred last week on Friday, President Barack Obama spoke vehemently against gun violence on Wednesday, making some of his strongest comments yet as president on the issue. While Obama said he stands by the Second Amendment, the right to keep and bear arms, and recognizes the traditions of hunting and gun ownership in the nation, he told a crowd in New Orleans at the National Urban League that there remains much work to do.
“I also believe that a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals,” the president said. “That they belong on the battlefield of war, not on the streets of our cities.” As President Obama visited the families of victims in Aurora, Colorado on Sunday, he did not fall into political debate over gun legislation, which dominated national dialogue over the weekend. Until Wednesday, the president mostly refrained from making public comments about existing gun laws. Obama also stressed on Wednesday the need for background checks and the prevention of “mentally unbalanced” individuals from obtaining guns. He faulted opposition in Congress for the lack of progress in reducing violence. “These steps shouldn’t controversial. They should be common sense,” Obama said. “We should leave no stone unturned and recognize that we have no greater mission as a country than keeping our young people safe.”