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President Barack Obama unveiled a new set of executive actions aimed at limiting gun violence in a press conference Tuesday from the White House. We cherish our right to privacy, but we accept that you have to go through metal detectors before being allowed to board a plane.
The efforts largely center on more stringent background checks. THE PRESIDENT: Mark, I want to thank you for your introduction. It’s not because people like doing that, but we understand that that’s part of the price of living in a civilized society.
I still remember the first time we met, the time we spent together, and the conversation we had about Daniel. And my hope, earnestly, has been that it would change the country. And what’s often ignored in this debate is that a majority of gun owners actually agree.
Five years ago this week, a sitting member of Congress and 18 others were shot at, at a supermarket in Tucson, Arizona. A majority of gun owners agree that we can respect the Second Amendment while keeping an irresponsible, law-breaking feud from inflicting harm on a massive scale.
It wasn’t the first time I had to talk to the nation in response to a mass shooting, nor would it be the last. Today, background checks are required at gun stores.
We understand there are some constraints on our freedom in order to protect innocent people.
And that visit right before a memorial — about an hour later Gabby first opened her eyes. But I know the pain that she and her family have endured these past five years, and the rehabilitation and the work and the effort to recover from shattering injuries. Many have had to learn to live with a disability, or learned to live without the love of their life. That’s part of the reason why, on Thursday, I’m going to hold a town hall meeting in Virginia on gun violence. I think we can disagree without impugning other people’s motives or without being disagreeable. But we do have to feel a sense of urgency about it. King’s words, we need to feel the “fierce urgency of now.” Because people are dying. And he says, well, I usually talk to him every day, but the call was coming in right before the meeting so I think I may have not answered his call — (laughter) — which made me feel kind of bad. (Laughter.) So I told him if his brother, Scott, is calling today, that he should take it. (Laughter.) I was there with Gabby when she was still in the hospital, and we didn’t think necessarily at that point that she was going to survive. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have lost brothers and sisters, or buried their own children. In this room right here, there are a lot of stories. There’s a lot of resilience, there’s a lot of strength, but there’s also a lot of pain. The United States of America is not the only country on Earth with violent or dangerous people. But we are the only advanced country on Earth that sees this kind of mass violence erupt with this kind of frequency. And instead of thinking about how to solve the problem, this has become one of our most polarized, partisan debates — despite the fact that there’s a general consensus in America about what needs to be done. (Laughter.) He came to the office, and I said, how often are you talking to him? And as I’ve said before, somehow we’ve become numb to it and we start thinking that this is normal. THE PRESIDENT: Thanks to a great medical team and the love of her husband, Mark, my dear friend and colleague, Gabby Giffords, survived. (Applause.) Thanks to a great medical team, her wonderful husband, Mark — who, by the way, the last time I met with Mark — this is just a small aside — you may know Mark’s twin brother is in outer space.If a father wants to teach his daughter how to hunt, he can walk into a gun store, get a background check, purchase his weapon safely and responsibly.This is not seen as an infringement on the Second Amendment.Contrary to the claims of what some gun rights proponents have suggested, this hasn’t been the first step in some slippery slope to mass confiscation.Contrary to claims of some presidential candidates, apparently, before this meeting, this is not a plot to take away everybody’s guns.You pass a background check; you purchase a firearm.The problem is some gun sellers have been operating under a different set of rules.A violent felon can buy the exact same weapon over the Internet with no background check, no questions asked. How did we get to the place where people think requiring a comprehensive background check means taking away people’s guns?