By David Jackson, USA TODAY
President Obama is pledging to work with Congress and others "to
arrive at a consensus" on ways to reduce gun violence in the wake of the
nation's latest mass shooting.
While supporting the Second
Amendment right to bear arms, Obama told members of the National Urban
League last night that "I also believe that a lot of gun owners would
agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of
"I believe the majority of gun owners would agree
that we should do everything possible to prevent criminals and
fugitives from purchasing weapons," Obama said less than a week after
the shooting at a theater in Aurora, Colo. "That we should check
someone's criminal record before they can check out a gun seller; that
a mentally unbalanced individual should not be able to get his hands
on a gun so easily.
"These steps shouldn't be controversial,"
Obama said at the Urban League convention in New Orleans. "They should
be common sense."
Obama and aides have
signaled they do not plan to unveil a new package of gun control
legislation in the wake of the Aurora attack; they are emphasizing
improvements to the background check system that the president pitched
after the mass shooting in Tucson, Ariz., in early 2011.
be difficult to get new gun legislation through a divided Congress;
leaders in the Republican-run House have said they will oppose any such
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says new gun laws are not the answer to what happened in Colorado.
lot of what this young man did was clearly against the law," Romney
told NBC News. "The fact that it was against the law did not prevent it
Citing the opposition in Congress, Obama told
the National Urban League audience that "I'm going to continue to work
with members of both parties, and with religious groups and with civic
organizations, to arrive at a consensus around violence reduction --
not just of gun violence, but violence at every level, on every step,
looking at everything we can do to reduce violence and keep our