Obama in Mpls: "Law enforcement officers should never be outgunned on the streets"
|Obama was flanked by local law enforcement during his North Minneapolis speech.|
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"No law or set of laws can keep our children completely safe, but if there's even one thing we can do, even one life we can save, we have an obligation to try. That's been the philosophy here in Minneapolis," Obama said, adding that the number of young people injured by guns in the city has decreased by 40 percent. (He drew that number from this city document, which shows a dramatic decrease in the number of Minneapolis youth and young adults injured in firearm-related assaults from 2005-06 to 2011.)
Before his speech, Obama participated in a roundtable discussion about gun violence with local community leaders, police officers, and federal officials.
"One of the things that struck me is that even though people sitting around that table represented very different communities, they all believe its time to take some basic common sense steps to reduce gun violence," Obama said.
"We should restore the ban on military-style assault weapons and a 10-round limit on magazines," Obama continued. Both of those proposals "deserve a vote in Congress. Our law enforcement officers should never be outgunned on the streets."
Obama also referenced the mental health component of gun violence, saying that lawmakers should "make it easier for young people to get access to mental health clinics."
The president called on Americans to contact their elected officials and urge them to get onboard with stricter gun control measures.
"The only way we can reduce gun violence in this country is if the American people -- if you decide it is important. We've suffered too much pain to stand by and do nothing," Obama said.
He also made sure to mention there is "no legislation to prohibit all guns," nor is he proposing to "subvert the Second Amendment."
A Wall Street Journal report published yesterday suggests the president still has much persuading to do to get his gun control proposal through Congress:
Senate Democratic leaders expect a gun bill to move to the Senate floor that includes most of the proposals backed by President Barack Obama, with the notable exception of a ban on military-style, semiautomatic weapons, a top aide to Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said...Obama's North Minneapolis speech wasn't entirely about guns and gun violence, however. He began the speech on a lighter note by cracking a couple jokes about that most Minnesotan of subjects -- the weather.
The strategy outline... reflects a growing sense within Democratic ranks that some of the president's most ambitious goals--particularly the call for new bans on certain types of military-style guns often described as assault weapons--may be unrealistic, [a Harry] Reid aide said...
Any gun measure passed by the Senate would be sent to the Republican-controlled House, where its chances of success are far less certain.
"There's no winter in D.C. -- I've gotten soft over these last four years," Obama said, adding that in Chicago, today's hovering-around-zero-degree temperatures would "be nothing."