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President Obama: “We have a deep obligation”

In a news conference at the White House today, President Obama called for urgent action to address gun violence in the United States:

The fact that this problem is complex can no longer be an excuse for doing nothing. The fact that we can’t prevent every act of violence doesn’t mean we can’t steadily reduce the violence, and prevent the very worst violence.

That’s why I’ve asked the Vice President to lead an effort that includes members of my Cabinet and outside organizations to come up with a set of concrete proposals no later than January—proposals that I then intend to push without delay. This is not some Washington commission. This is not something where folks are going to be studying the issue for six months and publishing a report that gets read and then pushed aside. This is a team that has a very specific task, to pull together real reforms right now. I asked Joe to lead this effort in part because he wrote the 1994 Crime Bill that helped law enforcement bring down the rate of violent crime in this country. That plan—that bill also included the assault weapons ban that was publicly supported at the time by former Presidents including Ronald Reagan.

I'm not going to be able to do it by myself. Ultimately, if this effort is to succeed, it’s going to require the help of the American people—it’s going to require all of you. If we're going to change things, it’s going to take a wave of Americans—mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, pastors, law enforcement, mental health professionals—and, yes, gun owners—standing up and saying “enough” on behalf of our kids.

Watch President Obama’s full remarks.

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