Obama proposes sweeping gun control measures
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"Finally, Congress needs to help, rather than hinder, law enforcement as it does its job. We should get tougher on people who buy guns with the expressed purpose of turning around and selling them to criminals. And we should severely punish anybody who helps them do this," he said.
At the same time, Obama noted that he believes the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms.
"I respect our strong tradition of gun ownership and the rights of hunters and sportsmen. There are millions of responsible, law-abiding gun owners in America who cherish their right to bear arms for hunting or sport or protection or collection.
"I also believe most gun owners agree that we can respect in the Second Amendment while keeping an irresponsible, law-breaking few from inflicting harm on a massive scale.
"I believe most of them agree that if America worked harder to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, there would be fewer atrocities like the one that occurred in Newtown," he said.
"That's what these reforms are designed to do. They're commonsense measures. They have the support of the majority of the American people," he said.
Obama's proposals were based on the recommendations received from Vice President Joe Biden, who was tasked with this.
Speaking on the occasion, Biden said for this he and the cabinet members sat down with 229 groups, from law enforcement agencies to public health officials to gun officials to gun advocacy groups, to sportsmen and hunters and religious leaders including those from Hindu and Sikhs.
"I've spoken with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, had extensive conversations with mayors and governors and county officials. These recommendations are based on the emerging consensus heard from all the groups, he added.
"Because while there is no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence completely, no piece of legislation that will prevent every tragedy, every act of evil, if there's even one thing we can do to reduce this violence, if there's even one life that can be saved, then we've got an obligation to try," Obama said at the White House event.