New Orleans - President Barack Obama pledged on Wednesday to work with Democrats, Republicans and community leaders to “arrive at a consensus” on how to reduce gun violence across the United States.
Closing out a multi-day trip that began in Aurora, Colorado, where he met with families and victims of the movie theatre massacre there, Obama told a mostly African-American audience that such tragedies are replayed on a smaller scale in cities throughout the country on a daily basis.
“Every day and a half, the number of young people we lose to violence is about the same as the number of people we lost in that movie theatre,” Obama said in remarks at the National Urban League Conference in New Orleans.
“I'm going to continue to work with members of both parties and with religious groups and with civic organisations to arrive at a consensus around violence reduction.”
Discussing or even touching on the issue of gun control in the United States during an election year is risky, and Obama has been careful to avoid making sweeping proposals that could offend gun owners and rally his Republican opponents.
The president made a point of emphasising his support for the US Constitution's Second Amendment, which covers the right to bear arms.
“We recognise the traditions of gun ownership that passed on from generation to generation, that hunting and shooting are part of a cherished national heritage,” Obama said.
“But 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 criminals. That they belong on the battlefield of war, not on the streets of our cities.” - Reuters