June 2 is Gun Violence Awareness Day, and when President Obama stuck around for audience questions after a taping at PBS NewsHour last night, he was challenged on his position on guns. The questioner asked why the president wants to control gun ownership among “good guys” instead of holding “bad guys” accountable for their actions — using Chicago, President Obama’s hometown, a city with “some of the strictest gun laws” yet an “outrageous murder rate,” as an example.
President Obama’s answer:
"I just came from a meeting today in the Situation Room in which ... people who we know have been on ISIL websites, U.S. citizens, and we’re allowed to put them on the no-fly list when it comes to airlines but because of the National Rifle Association I cannot prohibit those people from buying a gun. This is somebody who is a known ISIL sympathizer, and if he wants to walk into a gun store or gun show right now and buy as many weapons and ammo as he can, nothing’s prohibiting him from doing that, even though the FBI knows who he is. So sir, I just have to say respectfully, that there is a way for us to have common sense gun laws. There is a way to make sure that lawful, responsible gun owners like yourself are able to use them for sporting, hunting, protecting yourself. But the only way we’re going to do that is if we don’t have a situation in which anything that is proposed is viewed as some tyrannical destruction of the Second Amendment."
The president also compares gun ownership laws to car safety features like seatbelts, which were implemented by law to help significantly reduce traffic fatalities.
Read more about President Obama’s push for gun violence prevention laws.