Obama Pushes Gun Control Message

The president cautioned against waiting for the next Newtown or Aurora to take action.

Posted: 02/04/2013 03:26 PM EST

President Obama on Monday took his gun control campaign on the road to Minneapolis, Minnesota, a city once known as 'Murder-opolis.' He chose the state for his first trip outside of Washington to appeal for support on the issue because of the significant steps it has already taken to decrease gun violence.

The president cited a series of youth initiatives launched in the state, following a spike in gun violence in that demographic, that has the incidence of gun injuries among young people down by 40 percent.

"We've still got to deal with the 60 percent that remains, but that 40 percent means lives saved, parents whose hearts aren't broken, communities that aren't terrorized and afraid," he said. "We don't have to agree on everything to agree it's time to do something. That's my main message here today."

While a majority of Americans and many lawmakers agree that something must be done to curb the epidemic of gun violence taking place in the nation, there has been a good deal of debate about the best way to do so.

"The good news is that we're starting to see a consensus emerge about the action Congress needs to take. The vast majority of Americans, including a majority of gun owners, support requiring criminal background checks for anyone trying to buy a gun," Obama said, while renewing his call for the less popular ideas of an assault-style weapon ban and a 10-round limit for magazines.

He also called for increased access to mental health treatment and more law enforcement on the nation's streets and urged Congress to approve his nominee to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Minnesota U.S. Attorney Todd Jones. In addition, the president condemned efforts by special interest groups to misinterpret the goal of proposed gun control measures.

"We can't allow those filters to get in the way of common sense. That's why I need everybody who's listening to keep the pressure on your member of Congress to do the right thing," he said. "And tell them now is the time for action, that we're not going to wait until the next Newtown or the next Aurora."


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 (Photo: Ben Garvin/Getty Images)

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