Excerpts of the President’s Remarks on Reducing Gun Violence
As Prepared for Delivery –
“From the beginning of this effort, we’ve wanted law enforcement front and center in shaping the discussion and the reforms that emerge from it. After all, you’re often the first to see the terrible consequences of gun violence – lives lost; families broken; communities irrevocably changed. You know what works and what doesn’t, and we wanted that experience and that advice. And I’ve come here to Denver today because Colorado in particular is proving a model for what’s possible.
It’s now been just over 100 days since the murder of 20 innocent children and six brave educators in Newtown, Connecticut shocked this country into doing something to protect our kids. But consider this: over those 100 days or so, more than 100 times as many Americans have fallen victim to gun violence. More than 2,000 of our fellow citizens, struck down, often just because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. And every day we wait to do something about it, even more are stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun.
Colorado has already chosen to do something about it. This is, obviously, a state that has suffered the tragedy of two of the worst mass shootings in our history – 14 years ago this month in Columbine, and just last year in Aurora. This is also a state that treasures its Second Amendment rights – a state of proud hunters and sportsmen, with a strong tradition of gun ownership that’s handed down from generation to generation with reverence and respect.
I’m here because I believe there’s no conflict between reconciling these realities. There doesn’t have to be a conflict between protecting our citizens and protecting our Second Amendment rights. I’ve gotten stacks of letters from proud gun owners, whether they’re for sport, or protection, or collection, who tell me how deeply they cherish their rights, and don’t want them infringed upon – but they still want us to do something to stop the epidemic of gun violence.
I appreciate every one of those letters. I’ve learned from them. And I think that Colorado has shown that practical progress is possible by enacting tougher background checks that won’t infringe on the rights of responsible gun owners, but will help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.”