Obama Responds to Petitions Calling for End of Gun Violence

The president speaks to the country about the gun issue.

ByABC News
December 21, 2012, 10:12 AM

Dec. 21, 2012— -- President Barack Obama responded on Friday to a petition on the White House website urging lawmakers to pass stricter gun control laws following last week's Newtown, Connecticut school shooting.

In a video, Obama acknowledged that hundreds of thousands of people have signed petitions asking politicians to "address the epidemic of gun violence in this country."

See Also: Cries for Gun Control After Shootings Yield Few Changes

"We hear you," he said, reiterating that he has asked Vice President Joe Biden to lead a team in developing specific proposals by January to reduce gun violence.

The president noted that "most gun owners in America are responsible."

"Like the majority of Americans, I believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms," he said.

"Here's what I think we should do," Obama continued. "This week I called on Congress to take up and pass common-sense legislation that has the support of the majority of the American people, including banning the sale of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips, and making sure criminals can't take advantage of legal loopholes to get their hands on a gun."

He stressed the need to address a culture that "glorifies" violence and improve mental health services, and urged people to call on their members of Congress "as many times as it takes" to achieve a result.

"I'm asking for your help to make a real meaningful difference in the lives of our communities and our country, and make sure the United States of America is a safer, stronger place for our children to learn and to grow," Obama concluded.