Washington | President Barack Obama invoked the grisly shooting incidents at a school in Newtown and Sikh worshippers in Oak Creek to rally Congress support against the powerful gun lobby as he announced steps to tackle the gun violence that has claimed 100,000 lives over the past decade in America. Amid stiff resistance from Republican-controlled Congress to steps for tightening control on firearms, Obama yesterday vowed to curb the bloodshed with or without Congress.
In this room right here, there are a lot of stories. Theres a lot of heartache, he said in the White House East Room in presence of relatives of victims of mass shootings. He warned that the gun lobby cannot be allowed to block government action. The gun lobby may be holding Congress hostage right now, but they can’t hold America hostage.
All of us should be able to work together to find a balance that declares the rest of our rights are also important. Second Amendment rights are important, but there are other rights that we care about as well. And we have to be able to balance them, because our right to worship freely and safely – that right was denied to Christians in Charleston, South Carolina, he said. That was denied Jews in Kansas City, and that was denied Muslims in Chapel Hill and Sikhs in Oak Creek.
They had rights too. Our right to peaceful assembly, that right was robbed from moviegoers in Aurora and Lafayette, he said. Our inalienable right to life, and liberty and the pursuit of happiness, those rights were stripped from college kids in Blacksburg and Santa Barbara, and from high- schoolers in Columbine, and from first graders in Newtown, he said, recalling the killing of 20 elementary school children three years ago in Newtown, Connecticut. Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad, Obama said wiping tears from his eyes and paused for a moment to control his emotions. So, all of us need to demand that Congress be brave enough to stand up to the gun lobby’s lies.
All of us need to stand up and protect its citizens. All of us need to demand governors, and legislators and businesses do their part to make our communities safer, he said. Announcing his executive measures, he said anybody in the business of selling firearms must get a license and conduct background checks or be subject to criminal prosecutions. We’re also taking steps to make the background check system more efficient, he said.
We are going to do more to help those suffering from mental illness get the help that they need, he said, adding that the government is going to boost gun safety technology. In August 2012, a gunman with known ties to neo-Nazi groups attacked a Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, killing six worshippers and injuring several others. According to a White House fact sheet, over the past decade in America, more than 100,000 people have been killed as a result of gun violence.
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