The president also said that he would like to see an assault weapons ban reintroduced. The campaign and other Democrats have stayed away from the guns issue this campaign, even after the slaughter in the movie theater in Aurora, Colo.
"Weapons designed for soldiers in war do not belong on our streets," Obama said.
Romney said he was not in favor of new laws, but that we needed to change "the culture of violence."
That led Obama to remind Romney that he had supported an assault weapons ban as governor of Massachusetts.
"He was for an assault weapons ban before he was against it," Obama said.
At the end of the debate, each candidate was asked to debunk a misperception about themselves. Romney seized the opportunity to strike back at Democratic talking point that he did not care about 47 percent of the country.
"I care about 100 percent of the American people," said Romney.
The 47 percent came from a covertly recorded tape of Romney telling big bucks backers that 47 percent of Americans don't pay taxes and expect the government to take care of them.
Obama took the chance to unload on Romney. The president said Romney is "a good man... but when he says behind closed doors he believes 47 percent of Americans are ... who do you think he's talking about?"