And yet that doesn't mean any of this is going to be easy to enact or implement. If it were, we'd already have universal background checks. The ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines never would have been allowed to expire. More of our fellow Americans might still be alive, celebrating birthdays and anniversaries and graduations.
This will be difficult. There will be pundits and politicians and politicians and special interest lobbyists publicly warning of a tyrannical all-out assault on liberty, not because that's true but because they want to gin up fear or higher ratings or revenue for themselves. And behind the scenes they'll do everything they can to block any common-sense reform and make sure nothing changes whatsoever.
The only way we will be able to change is if their audience, their constituents, their membership says, this time must be different, that this time we must do something to protect our communities and our kids.
I will put everything I've got into this, and so will Joe. But I tell you, the only way we can change is if the American people demand it.
And by the way, that doesn't just mean from certain parts of the country. We're going to need voices in those areas, in those congressional districts where the tradition of gun ownership is strong to speak up and to say this is important. It can't just be the usual suspects.
We have to examine ourselves in our hearts and ask ourselves what is important. This will not happen unless the American people demand it. If parents and teachers, police officers and pastors, if hunters and sportsmen, if responsible gun owners, if Americans of every background stand up and say, enough, we suffered too much pain and care too much about our children to allow this to continue, then change will -- change will come. That's what it's going to take.
You know, on the letter that Julia (sp) wrote me, she said, I know that laws have to be passed by Congress, but I beg you to try very hard. (Laughter.) Julia (sp), I will try very hard. But she's right. The most important changes we can make depend on congressional action. They need to bring these proposals up for a vote, and the American people need to make sure that they do.
Get them on record. Ask your member of Congress if they support universal background checks to keep guns out of the wrong hands. Ask them if they support renewing a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. And if they say no, ask them why not.
Ask them what's more important, doing whatever it takes to get a -- a "A" grade from the gun lobby that funds their campaigns, or giving parents some peace of mind when they drop their child off for first grade? (Applause.)
This is the land of the free, and it always will be. As Americans, we are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights that no man or government can take away from us. But we've also long recognized, as our founders recognized, that with rights come responsibilities. Along with our freedom to live our lives as we will comes an obligation to allow others to do the same. We don't live in isolation. We live in a society, a government of and by and for the people. We are responsible for each other.