“I – like most Americans – believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual the right to bear arms,” Obama said. “I think we recognize the traditions of gun ownership passed on from generation to generation, that hunting and shooting are part of a cherished national heritage.”
“But I also believe that a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers and not in the hands of crooks. They belong on the battlefield of war, not on the streets of our cities,” he added.
“When there’s an extraordinarily heartbreaking tragedy like the one we saw, there’s always an outcry immediately after for action,” Obama said. “There’s talk of new reforms. There’s talk of legislation. And too often those efforts are defeated by politics and by lobbying and eventually by the pull of our collective attention elsewhere. But what I said in the wake of Tucson is we’re going to stay on this persistently.”
“As we convene these conversations, let’s be clear even as we debate government’s role, we have to understand that when a child opens fire on another child, there’s a hole in that child’s heart that government alone can’t fill,” he said. “It’s got to be up to us as parents, as neighbors and as teachers and as mentors to make sure our young people don’t have that void inside them. It’s up to us to spend time with them. To pay more attention to them. To show them more love and they learn to love each other and they learn to love one another and they grow up knowing what it is to walk a mile in somebody else’s shoes and to view the world in somebody else’s eyes.”