Last Updated:November 29 @ 05:55 pm

Obama addresses violence and tightening gun laws

By Julie Pace

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - In one of his most expansive responses yet to gun crime, President Barack Obama on Wednesday embraced some degree of control on the sale of weapons but said he would also seek a national consensus on combating violence. He said responsibility for curtailing bloodshed also rests with parents, neighbors and teachers to ensure that young people "do not have that void inside them."

Speaking just six days after the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., that left 12 dead, Obama pledged to work with lawmakers of both parties to stop violence, not only the sudden massacres that have bedeviled the nation, but the steady drip of urban crime that has cost many young lives.

"We should leave no stone unturned and recognize that we have no greater mission that keeping our young people safe," Obama said in a speech to the National Urban League.

Obama called for stepped-up background checks for people who want to purchase guns and restrictions to keep mentally unbalanced individuals from buying weapons. He says those steps "shouldn't be controversial, they should be common sense."

But he also added: "We must also understand that when a child opens fire on other children, there's a hole in his heart that no government can fill."

Obama's speech represented a bookend to a four-day trip that began in Colorado on Sunday when he visited with survivors of the theater massacre.

For Obama, the address to the National Urban League was a necessary overture to a voting bloc that overwhelmingly backs him but that has sustained much of the brunt of the economic downturn.

In his speech Obama promoted his economic and health care policies, tailoring what has become a standard campaign speech to his African-American audience. He drew attention to initiatives that have helped Americans in general, and African-Americans in particular.

But, as he did during his 2008 campaign, he also pressed personal responsibility.

He said young Americans are competing against kids in Beijing and Bangalore. "You know, they're not hanging out ... they're not playing video games, they're not watching `Real Housewives,'" he said. "I'm just saying. It's a two-way street. You've got to earn success."

Ahead of Obama's remarks, the Urban League played a video showing photos of famous African-Americans that culminated with images of the president and his family the night of the 2008 election. The crowd of several thousand responded with thunderous applause that was sustained as Obama walked on stage and peppered with chants of "four more years."

Obama spoke on the same day that the Senate gave him a political victory by passing an extension of Bush-era tax cuts for households with less than $250,000 in earnings. The president has made retaining current tax rates for middle-class taxpayers a central piece of his economic policy while rejecting Republican efforts to extend the current tax rates for all. Under Obama's plan, taxes for wealthier Americans would rise. The Senate measure, however, was expected to go no further because of the Republican-dominated House.

While enthusiasm among some Obama supporters has faded since 2008, support for America's first black president remains high among African-Americans. In a recent Associated Press-GfK poll, 82 percent of black adults said they would vote for Obama. His approval rating among blacks was 87 percent.

Obama skipped an appearance at the NAACP earlier this month, raising questions about whether his campaign was taking black voters for granted. The White House blamed a scheduling conflict and sent Vice President Joe Biden to address the nation's oldest civil rights organization.

Republican challenger Mitt Romney also addressed the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, raising eyebrows when he told the crowd: "If you want a president who will make things better in the African-American community, you are looking at him."

Obama announced that he would sign an executive order on Thursday that creates a new office to bolster the education of African-American students. The White House says the office will coordinate the work of communities and federal agencies to ensure that these youngsters are better prepared for high school, college and career.

Obama also was raised campaign money at two separate stops in New Orleans: an intimate 20-person event at the cost of $25,000 per person, and a larger event at the House of Blues for 400 people, with tickets starting at $250.

Obama raised at least $6 million at events this week in California, Oregon and Washington. The president started the trip Sunday with a stop in Colorado to meet with survivors and families of the victims of last week's movie theater massacre.


Associated Press Deputy Polling Director Jennifer Agiesta in Washington contributed to this report.

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  1. cxComment by genesal
    July 26, 2012 @ 9:14 am

    Still haven’t caught up to the 300+ killed because of the U.S. government.
    What a RACIST prez:

    but the steady drip of urban crime that has cost many young lives. (he means black on black crime)

    Obama announced that he would sign an executive order on Thursday that creates a new office to bolster the education of African-American students (what about the rest of the students)

    He can’t be gone fast enough. Hopefully the leaks will sink him.

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  2. capricorn1Comment by capricorn1
    July 26, 2012 @ 9:15 am

    liberals can not accept that some people are just plain and simple EVIL.

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    • The way it isComment by The way it is
      July 26, 2012 @ 10:14 am

      I agree with you, the best way to discourage people of this behavior is not rehabilitate evil doers but eliminate them publicly. This would make the nutcases setting on the fence think twice after seeing a public hanging.

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  3. CharlieComment by vietnamvet
    July 26, 2012 @ 10:04 am

    It’s a waste of time keeping track of what Obama says publicly about guns and the control of them. What he is doing “under the radar” is the important thing to keep track of.

    Neither voters nor Congress will support any major moves in the anti-gun campaign. But O-boy is addicted to bypassing Congress, and springing his ‘surprises’ on us when we least expect it.

    The unexpected discovery of the Fast & Furious ‘trap’ was the most recent ‘our lucky day’ for gun owners.

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  4. The way it isComment by The way it is
    July 26, 2012 @ 10:11 am

    President Barack Obama on Wednesday embraced some degree of control on the sale of weapons but said he would also seek a national consensus on combating violence.
    I foresee a presidential decree that guns will be taken away from law abiding citizens “For The Common Good” and to hell with what the citizen of this once great county wants.

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  5. jdb121Comment by jdb121
    July 26, 2012 @ 10:16 am

    Everybody obeyed the rule of the theatre that no firearms were allowed…..except one person. Does the concept of obedience to the rule prove that the majority or the minority was right? We all agree that the rule of the theater was broken, but was it broken because of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms? People are dead because they obeyed the rule of the theatre, not because they exercised the right to keep and bear arms. Politicians draw their capacitance from the crowd, not the individual in it. They see the whole, not the part. It is understandable but arguably flawed reasoning.

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  6. jenerseaComment by jenersea
    July 26, 2012 @ 10:52 am

    If Obozo does not come out now with a full disclosure of what really happened with Fast and Furious, then how can he say anything else about gun problems in this country? We have all the laws we need already on the books about guns, they just need to enforce them and that is from the top down.

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  7. pistol packing mamaComment by txgoatlady
    July 26, 2012 @ 11:24 am

    Okay, so a couple of Obama quotes from this article simply don’t jive with what we know about him. His speechwriters must be responsible for these lines.

    “We must also understand that when a child opens fire on other children, there’s a hole in his heart that no government can fill.”

    Does anyone believe that Obama really agrees with that? If so, what do you want to bet he doesn’t believe that God is what should fill that hole.

    “You know, they’re not hanging out … they’re not playing video games, they’re not watching `Real Housewives,’” he said. “I’m just saying. It’s a two-way street. You’ve got to earn success.”

    Wait a minute……I thought we weren’t responsible for our own success. I thought we couldn’t “earn” anything according to Obama. After all, “you didn’t build that.” That was an off-teleprompter comment, so I am much more likely to believe that is his true philosophy.

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  8. Mort_fComment by Mort_f
    July 26, 2012 @ 11:59 am

    Has Obummer even read the Higher Education Bill? Only minority colleges qualify for grants. Minority being a euphemism for black, but there are some drippings for hispanic and asian colleges. Does anybody know of any 80% hispanic or asian colleges?

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  9. jb80538Comment by jb80538
    July 26, 2012 @ 12:49 pm

    Murder has been illegal since the beginning of time. Yet it happens. By banning guns or even making them harder to get for law abiding citizens will not stop murders. That has been proven REPEATEDLY! If anyone had a legally posessed firearm in that theater (gun free zone), 12 people may not have been murdered. If any teacher at Columbine had had a firearm in the school (gun free zone) maybe not as many kids would have been murdered. At a Mall in Omaha (gun free zone) people were still murdered. It’s not the gun! It’s evil people that are bent on killing. Yet it wasn’t reported that a recently released convict murdered someone outside church in Aurora a couple days after the theater killing, another person drew out their CCW and killed the felon.

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  10. azretiredComment by azretired
    July 26, 2012 @ 7:30 pm

    reason i never joined the NRA is their stance on assault weapons. as a combat grunt for a year in Vietnam i firmly believe there are many more better hunting rifles out there than an AK or AR15.Assault weapons of the above type should not be sold here–no need for them. they were made for one purpose, that is not compatable with public safety.

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    • Mort_fComment by Mort_f
      July 26, 2012 @ 8:51 pm

      I am not an NRA member, nor a gun owner. But I purchased a gun for my brother, he was only 13 years old at the time. He has since developed into a competetive marksman, is an NRA member, and does own an AR15 which he uses at matches. For hunting, for smaller game, those weapons are very appropriate, as they are lightweight and very reliable under field conditions.Btw, his first rifle was a bolt action, copy of a Lee Enfield jungle carbine, in .22 caliber. A war surplus army training rifle. Quite accurate, and he is sorry now that he traded it.

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    • truckieComment by truckie
      July 27, 2012 @ 4:57 pm

      I won’t join the NRA either. But for many different reasons. Like there willingness to compromise on anti-gun legislation in the past.
      You mention “assault weapons” in your post. What is an assault weapon? I have looked it up and can’t find a definition in any real dictionary. If your referring to rifles like the AR-15, or AK-47. Then you are talking about tactical rifles, not assault weapons. All firearms, as well as bows and arrows, hatchets, & knives etc. are all assault weapons. It all depends on how you use them. Liberals like to call AR-15s, & AK-47s assault weapons because it makes them sound scarier. A firearm is just a tool. No different then any other tool.
      If history has taught us anything, it has taught us that humans are proficient killers. If we want to kill no laws will protect the target. If the gun is not available we find other means to do the job. And if guns were successfully removed from our society, then those bent on killing large numbers will use other means. Personally I would rather face a mad gunman rather then a mad bomber. Since using explosives would be the likely replacement for the gun, to achieve maximum kills.
      Be careful what you wish for you just might get it. And what a much more dangerous America we would become.
      Would you be so against guns, if you knew that 2.5 million people every year use guns to prevent, or stop a felony from accruing? (With only 5% actually having to fire the weapon.) These figures are from the F.B.I.’s own reports. The above includes the use of handguns, shotguns,& rifles, including tactical rifles for self-defense.

      One last thing. I know a lot of ex-combat veterans. Not one of the would ever use the term “assault weapon”, when referring to a tactical rifle.

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    • Mort_fComment by Mort_f
      July 27, 2012 @ 5:55 pm

      To add to truckie. The TSA classifies my wife’s knitting needles as ‘assault’ weapons. In my youth there were a great variety of ‘assault’ weapons; a single edged razor blade held hidden between one;s fingers, and the garrison belt with a sharpened belt buckle. People can be very ‘inventive’. The ‘assault’ weapon of choice by the 911 miscreants in that ‘work incident’ was a box cutter.

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  11. thecitizenComment by thecitizen
    July 27, 2012 @ 11:27 pm

    Hyperbole and pure nonsense.

    Never let a tragedy go to waste.

    BO’s proven time and and again that any display of ‘empathy’ on his part is just a head fake. BO’s proven time and again he doesn’t care 2 cents for ‘consensus’. BO’s also proven time and again that either by hook or crook he just wants ‘control’, more and more and MORE – control – over every facet of the lives of the citizen population.

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