Obama pushes gun control in address

President Obama on Saturday called on Congress to act on his gun-control proposals.

In his weekly address, the president said his administration has taken several steps this week to reduce gun violence. But lawmakers on Capitol Hill need to pass legislation to help prevent mass shootings like the tragedy that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut, according to Obama.

“My administration is taking a series of actions right away — from strengthening our background check system, to helping schools hire more resource officers if they want them, to directing the Centers for Disease Control to study the best ways to reduce gun violence,” Obama said. “But the truth is, making a real and lasting difference also requires Congress to act — and act soon.”

The president asked Congress to pass legislation to require a universal background check for every gun buyer, ban assault weapons and limit magazines to 10 rounds and appropriate more federal funds to get more cops back on patrol.

Obama said he believes that the Second Amendment allows an individual to own a gun and that many gun owners act responsibly.

“But I also believe most gun owners agree that we can respect the Second Amendment while keeping an irresponsible, law-breaking few from causing harm on a massive scale. That’s what these reforms are designed to do,” Obama said.

The president said it wouldn’t be easy to pass these changes on Capitol Hill. Gun-rights groups like the National Rifle Association are expected to lobby heavily against Obama’s proposal. In turn, the president asked Americans to help with the gun-control effort.

“It’s got to be up to you. If, like me, you want this time to be different, then I need your help to make it different,” Obama said.

“Ask your member of Congress if they support universal background checks and renewing a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. And if the answer is 'no,' ask them why not. Ask them why an 'A' grade from the gun lobby is more important than keeping kids safe in a first-grade classroom.”

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Obama said he has heard from several children since the shooting in Newtown. The president said one letter from Rachel, an eight-year-old who lives in Brooklyn, asked him to “do something so that bad people cannot get guns to kill other people. Children should be safe, especially in school.”

“Rachel is counting on us. Let’s get this done for her, and let’s make this country a safer place for all our children to learn and grow,” Obama said.