Obama seeks common ground on guns

President Obama on Sunday called for gun-rights advocates and proponents of gun control to find common ground two months after the shooting which killed six people and wounded 13 others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.).

The Arizona Daily Star published an op-ed by Obama on Sunday calling for stronger restrictions on gun sales to buyers suspected of mental instability.

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“A man our Army rejected as unfit for service; a man one of our colleges deemed too unstable for studies; a man apparently bent on violence, was able to walk into a store and buy a gun,” Obama wrote of Jared Loughner, the man accused of shooting Giffords and 19 other people, six fatally. 

Obama said the vast majority of gun owners are “highly responsible” and recognized the Second Amendment grants individuals the right to bear arms.

He said gun-control advocates need to recognize this, but gun owners need to accept, in turn, that some rules needs to be tightened.

Obama said “we should check someone's criminal record before he can check out at a gun seller; that an unbalanced man shouldn't be able to buy a gun so easily.” 

The president called for reform of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which relies on state-supplied data that is often incomplete or inaccurate. 

He said states that provide the best data should be rewarded and the system should be upgraded to provide instant, accurate and comprehensive background checks.

Some will say that anything short of the most sweeping anti-gun legislation is a capitulation to the gun lobby. Others will predictably cast any discussion as the opening salvo in a wild-eyed scheme to take away everybody's guns.

Obama said he had faith in the broad public to rise above the hyperbole and accept “commonsense” reforms. 

“None of us should be willing to remain passive in the face of violence or resigned to watching helplessly as another rampage unfolds on television,” he wrote.