There has been a flurry of petitions regarding both gun control and a protection of second amendment rights through the White House's "We the People" initiative.
President Obama issued a response to a series of petitions created following the mass shooting of 20 young children and six faculty members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. last Friday.
The White House, when the “We the People” initiative was announced to the public, stated that it would issue a response to any petition that had gained 20,000 signatures. So far, the most successful petition called for Texas to secede from the union, with over 80,000 signatures.
Now, one petition, calling for the White House to immediately address the issue of gun control by introducing legislation in Congress has gained nearly 200,000. Several other similar petitions, also calling for gun control in the wake of the Connecticut shootings, have each gained tens of thousands of signatures.
“Powerful lobbying groups allow the ownership of guns to reach beyond the Constitution's intended purpose of the right to bear arms. Therefore, Congress must act on what is stated law, and face the reality that access to firearms reaches beyond what the Second Amendment intends to achieve,” the petition reads, in part.
In response, Obama stated that he believes the “second amendment guarantees an individual a right to bear arms,” and that most gun owners are responsible.
“I'm willing to bet that they don't think that using a gun and using common sense are incompatible ideas -- that an unbalanced man shouldn't be able to get his hands on a military-style assault rifle so easily; that in this age of technology, we should be able to check someone's criminal records before he or she can check out at a gun show; that if we work harder to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, there would be fewer atrocities like the one in Newtown -- or any of the lesser-known tragedies that visit small towns and big cities all across America every day,” the President said, going on to say that American’s should have as much ease in obtaining mental health care as they have obtaining firearms.
Despite the growing support for gun control, coming even from historically pro-gun advocates in Washington including Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Obama will have an uphill battle politically from those who support gun rights. The National Rifle Association has been a major critic of Obama, despite the fact that the President has so far only expanded gun rights during his time in the Oval Office.
The NRA held a press conference on Friday, during which it blamed nearly everything except for guns for the series of gun violence that has plagued our country from coast to coast over the past several years. The entertainment industry which depicts graphic violence, the national media which the association suggests offers glorification to mass murderers, video games and even “bragging” about gun-free school zones were all mentioned by Wayne LaPierre during his statement to the press corps as responsible for gun violence. The NRA went on to suggest that school districts should post armed security.
While the petition calling for gun control has received much national support, others have as well. One calling for “support of law abiding gun owners” received over 50,000 signatures, and another calling for a “federally-funded mental health care system,” received over 12,000 signatures.
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