Obama in Minneapolis: Gun Control is About Saving Lives
President called on voters to pressure their legislators to pass gun control measures.
Speaking to a crowd of local dignitaries and law enforcement officers on Monday, President Barack Obama called on voters to pressure Congress to act on curbing gun violence.
"We've suffered too much pain to stand by and do nothing," he said.
"We don't have to agree on everything to agree it's time to do something," he added.
Adopting universal background checks, banning military-style assault weapons, limiting ammunition magazines to 10 rounds, and putting more police officers on the street are "common sense," bipartisan measures to reduce gun violence, the President said. He also repeated other proposals to expand access to mental health care for young people.
Obama made clear why he picked Minneapolis as a backdrop to his speech, and why he picked politicians, community leaders, and law enforcement officers from the Twin Cities for a private round table discussion before his speech.
"This city came together" after a particularly violent period that earned the city the nickname "Murderapolis," he said. "You launched a series of youth initiatives that reduced the number of young people injured by guns by 40 percent. You've shown progress is possible."
That drop, he said, meant more "parents whose hearts aren't broken, communities that aren't terrorized."
The President pushed voters to put pressure on their legislators to pass his package of gun control proposals.
"Weapons of war have no place on our streets or in our schools, or threatening our law enforcement officers," Obama said.
"There is no government plot to take away guns," he added later in his speech.
Following the president's speech, Hennepin County Sherrif Richard Stanek issued a press release supporting Obama's proposals and urging more stringent background checks to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.
"Gun ownership isn’t a privilege, it’s a right guaranteed by the Constitution,” said Stanek. “We have an access problem; people already prohibited by law from owning or buying a gun should never have access to firearms.”
St. Louis Park gun control advocate Sami Rahamim, son of slain Accent Signage owner Reuven Rahamim, praised the president's speech in an interview with Patch following the event. Since late 2012, Rahamim has lobbied Minnesota's state legislators to pass a package of gun control measures.
"It still takes a lot of effort, and there are lots of important conversations ahead," he said. "We do have common ground: we all have the right to be safe in our communities."