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-- what -- begin by thanking.
Our vice president Joseph Biden.
For your dedication joke to this issue for bringing so many different voices to the table.
Because while reducing gun violence is a complicated challenge.
Protecting our children from harm shouldn't be a divisible.
Over the month since the tragedy in Newtown.
We've heard from so many and obviously none.
Have affected us more than the fairways.
Of those gorgeous children.
And their teachers and guardians who.
Who were lost and and so we're grateful to all of you for taking the time to be here and recognizing that we honor their memories in part by doing everything we can't prevent this from happening again.
-- we also heard from some -- unexpected people in particular -- start getting a lot of letters from kids.
-- here today grant Fritz.
-- -- ER and to -- good.
They're pretty representative of some of messages that I got these are some pretty Smart letters from.
Some pretty Smart young people.
-- up a third grader can -- and -- and as you.
-- a road.
I feel terrible for the parents who lost their children.
I love my country.
And I want everybody to be happy and safe.
And then grabs.
-- -- -- -- said I think there should be some changes.
We should learn from what happened to that sandy hook.
I feel really bad.
And then Julius.
-- -- I'm not scared for my safety I'm scared for others.
I have four Brothers and sisters and I know I would not be able to bear the thought.
Of losing any of them.
And these are kids.
Is what we're thinking about.
And so what.
We should be thinking about is our responsibility to care for that.
And shield them from part.
And give them the tools they need to grow up.
And do everything that they're capable of doing not just pursue their own dreams but to help build this country.
This is our first task as a society.
Keeping our children safe.
This is how.
We will be judged.
And their voices.
Should compel us to change.
And that's why last month by as -- to lead an effort along with -- members of my cabinet.
To come up with some concrete steps we can take right now.
To keep our children safe.
To help prevent mass shootings.
To reduce the broader epidemic of gun violence in this country.
And we can't put this off any longer.
Just last Thursday as TV networks were covering one of -- meetings.
On this topic.
News broke of another school shooting this one in California.
In the month.
Since Tony precious children and six brave adults would -- taken from us it's sandy hook elementary.
More than 900.
Of our fellow Americans have reportedly died at the end of a -- 900.
In the past month.
And every day we wait.
That number will keep grown.
So I'm putting forward.
A specific set of proposals.
Based on the work of -- task force.
And in the days ahead I and tend to use whatever weight this office holds.
To make -- reality.
Because while there is no law or set of laws that -- to -- Every senseless act of violence completely.
-- piece of legislation that will.
Every tragedy every act of evil.
If there was even one thing we can do.
To reduce this violence.
If there's even one life that can be saved.
We've got an obligation to try it.
-- -- to do my part.
As soon as I'm finished speaking here.
Oh -- that desk and I'll sign a directive giving law enforcement school's mental health professionals and the public health community.
Some of the tools they need to help reduce gun violence.
We will make it easier to keep guns out of the hands of criminals by strengthening.
The background check system.
We will help schools hire more resource officers if they want them and develop emergency preparedness points.
We will make sure mental health professionals no other options for reporting threats of violence and even as we acknowledge that someone where -- mental illness is far more likely to be a victim of violent crime than the perpetrated.
And -- a year after year.
Those who oppose even modest gun safety measures have threatened to defund the scientific or medical research into the cause of gun violence.
I will direct the Centers for Disease Control to go ahead and study the best ways to reduce.
And congress should fund research.
Into the effects of violent video games have on young minds.
We don't benefit from ignorance.
We don't benefit from not knowing.
This -- epidemic of violence.
-- these are few of the 23 executive actions that I -- announcing today but as important as these steps are.
They are in no way a substitute for action for members of congress.
To make a real and lasting difference.
Congress to must -- And congress must act -- And I'm calling on congress to pass some very specific proposals.
First it's time for congress to -- a universal background check.
For anyone trying to buy -- got.
The law already requires licensed gun dealers to run background checks and over the last fourteen years that's kept one point five million of the wrong people from getting their hands on -- gun.
But it's hard to enforce that law -- as many as 40% of all gun purchases.
Are conducted without a background check.
That's not safe.
Let's not Smart.
It's not fair to responsible gun buyers or sellers.
If you want to buy a gun.
Whether it's from a licensed dealer or a private seller you should at least have to show you are not a felon or somebody legally prohibited from buying what.
This common sense.
An overwhelming majority of Americans agree -- us on the need for universal background checks including more than 70%.
Of the national rifle association's members according to -- service.
So there's no reason we can't do this.
Congress should restore ban on military style assault weapons.
And a ten round limit for magazines.
The type of assault rifle used in a roar for example when paired with -- high capacity magazines has one purpose.
To pump out as many bullets as possible as quickly as possible.
To do as much damage.
Using bullets often designed to inflict maximum damage.
And that's what allowed the -- in Aurora to shoot seventy.
Seventy people killing twelve.
In a matter -- minutes.
Weapons design from the fear of war.
Have no place in a movie theater.
A majority of Americans agree with -- some us.
And by the way so did Ronald Reagan.
One of the staunchest defenders of the Second Amendment who wrote to congress in 1994.
Urging that this is Ronald Reagan speak.
Urging them to listen to the American public into the law enforcement community and support a ban on the further manufacturer of military style assault weapons.
And finally congress needs to help rather than hinder law enforcement as it does its job.
We should get tougher on people who buy guns with -- express purpose of turning around and selling them to criminals.
And we should severely punish anybody who helps.
-- -- -- -- Since congress hasn't confirmed director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms in six years.
They should confirm.
Todd Jones who will be.
Who has been acting and I will be nominating for the post.
-- then at a time when budget cuts are forcing many communities to reduce their police force.
We should put more cops back on the job and back on our streets.
-- -- -- -- -- -- Like most Americans I believe the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms.
Our respect our strong tradition of gun ownership.
And the rights of hunters and sportsmen.
There are millions of responsible law abiding gun owners in America who cherish the right to bear arms for hunting or sport.
I also believe most -- owners agree.
That we can respect the Second Amendment while keeping.
And irresponsible -- breaking few from inflicting harm on a massive scale.
I believe most of them agree that if America worked harder to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.
There would be fewer atrocities like the one that occurred in -- That's what these reforms are designed to do their common sense measures.
They have the support of the majority of the American people.
-- And yet that doesn't mean any of this is going to be easy to enact or implement.
It for war regarding have universal background checks.
The ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines never -- been allowed to expire.
More of our fellow Americans.
Might still be a lot celebrating birthdays and anniversaries and graduation it's.
This will be difficult.
There will be pundits and politicians and special interest lobbyists.
Publicly warning of -- to read too radical all out assault on liberty.
Now because that's true.
They want to gin up fear or higher -- news or revenue for themselves.
And behind the scenes they'll do everything they can't.
The block any common sense reform and make sure nothing changes whatsoever.
The only way we you'll 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 markets.
I won't put -- everything I've got a nervous and soldier -- But I tell you.
The only way we can change.
That the American people demand.
And by the way that doesn't just mean.
From certain parts of the country.
We're gonna need voices.
In those areas in those congressional districts where the tradition of gun ownership is strong.
To speak up and -- say this is important.
It can't just be the usual suspects.
We have to examine ourselves and our hearts.
And ask ourselves what is important.
This will not happen unless the American people demand.
If parents and teachers police officers and pastors.
-- hunters and sportsmen.
If responsible gun owners if Americans of every background stand up and say.
We suffer too much pain and care too much about our children to allow this to continued.
Then change -- Change will -- That's what it's gonna take.
There on the letter that.
Julia wrote me she said.
I know that laws have to be passed by congress.
But I beg you to try very -- -- 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 operate vote.
And the American people need to make sure that they do.
Get them on record.
-- member of congress if they support universal background checks to keep guns on the wrong hands.
Ask -- if they support renewing a ban on -- -- style assault weapons and high capacity magazines.
And if they say no.
Asked them why not.
Ask them what's more important.
Doing whatever it takes to get.
A great from the gun lobby that fund their campaigns war.
Giving parents some peace of mind when they drop their child off for first grade.
The land of the free -- and always will be.
As Americans we are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights that no man or government can take away -- Well we've also long recognized.
As our founders recognized that with rights come responsibilities.
Along -- our freedom to liberalize as we will -- an obligation.
To allow others to do the same.
We don't live in isolation.
We live in a society.
A government -- by and for the people.
We are responsible for each other.
Have a right to worship freely and safely that Wright was denied to Sikhs in Oak Creek Wisconsin.
The right to assemble piece of what.
That Wright was denied shoppers.
-- from a sword and moviegoers and Aurora Colorado.
That most fundamental set of rights to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness fundamental rights that.
There were denied to college students at Virginia -- And high school students a column by an elementary school students in new -- And kids on street corners in Chicago.
On to frequent a basis to tolerate.
And all the families who never imagined.
The -- lose a loved one to -- Those rights are at stake.
And when I visit -- -- last month I spent some private time where many of the families who lost their children that day and one was the family of Chris McDonnell.
Race -- parents are here.
-- was seven years old when she was struck down.
-- -- -- -- -- -- I'm told she wore pink.
She loved the beach.
She dreamed of becoming a pain -- And so just before -- left.
Gave me -- repayments.
And I hung it in my privates study just off the Oval Office.
And every time I look -- that -- I think about race.
And I think about the life that she lived.
And the life that -- ahead of her.
And most of all I think about how when it comes to protecting the most vulnerable among us.
We must act now.
For the 2.5 other innocent children and devoted educators.
Who had so much left to give.
For the men and women in big cities and small towns -- fall victim to senseless violence each and every day.
For all the Americans were counting on us.
To keep them safe from -- -- do the right thank.
Let's do the right thing for them.
And for this country that we love so much.
-- thank you.
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