NEW ORLEANS, La. -- Speaking to the National Urban League convention
Wednesday night, President Barack Obama spoke at length about gun
violence for the first time since the deadly shooting in Aurora, Colo.
president said more must be done to keep weapons from criminals and the
mentally unstable, vowing to do more but offering few specifics on how
to prevent such occurrences under existing law. He spoke for six
minutes, mourning the victims of high-profile shootings but also what he
called the daily, "less publicized acts of violence."
there's extraordinarily heartbreaking tragedy, there's always an outcry
immediately after for action," Obama said to the crowd of 3,700. "Too
often those efforts are defeated by politics and by lobbying and
eventually by the pull of our collective attention elsewhere."
Obama criticized Congress for opposing other measures to reduce
violence, "particularly when it touches on the issue of guns," and
offered broad strokes of what he would do differently in the future.
said he would continue to work with members of both parties and also
community leaders to arrive "at a consensus around violence reduction,
not just of gun violence but violence at every level."
of common ground, the president said, would be ensuring that criminals
and mentally unstable individuals like Jared Lee Loughner, who killed
six people in Tucson, are unable to purchase firearms.
"I think a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals," he said.
believe the majority of gun owners agree we should do everything
possible to prevent criminals and fugitives from purchasing weapons,"
the president said. "That we should check out a person's criminal record
before they can check out at a gun store. That a mentally unbalanced
individual should not be able to get his hands on a gun so easily."
last remark, a clear reference to the mentally unstable individuals
responsible for the most recent high-profile massacres, received
particularly loud applause from the audience.