In a direct response to a White House petition, President Barack Obama said Friday that he will do “everything in my power” to ensure gun control policies become law in 2013.
The petition on the White House’s “We the People” website was submitted by a Texan and achieved 197,073 signatures as of Friday morning — the site’s most popular entry yet. Importantly, the text of the petition does not ask a question: The petition demands what it calls “a bipartisan discussion resulting in a set of laws that regulates how a citizen obtains a gun.”
“I just wanted to take a minute today to respond and let you know, we hear you,” Obama said in a video published Friday morning.
The president typically does not respond to petitions on the site personally, nor does he usually release addresses on YouTube on Fridays. The size of the petition and the weight of the last seven days, however, appeared enough to move Obama to speak.
The president explained that he believes most American gun owners are responsible and acquire their weapons legally, either for sport or self defense. But he added that many gun owners themselves want to see another tragedy like the Newtown massacre averted, by taking steps like “banning the sale of military-style assault weapons” and “high capacity ammunition clips.”
The president also alluded to closing the so-called “gun show loophole,” which lets firearms be exchanged with virtually no oversight at all. Obama also reminded viewers that he’s assigned Vice President Joe Biden to lead a task force on gun violence that will make specific recommendations in January.
“I will do everything in my power as president to advance these efforts,” he said. “Because if there’s even one thing we can do in the country to protect our children, we have a responsibility to try.”
He added that it will take commitment and likely a lot of organizing and a lot of phone calls to Congress. “I’m asking you to help make a real, meaningful difference in the lives of our communities and our country, and make sure the United States of America is a safer, stronger country for our children to learn and to grow,” Obama said.
This video was published to YouTube on Friday, December 21, 2012.
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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