President Obama is pushing his case for a more aggressive response to gun violence. In a CNN town hall meeting at George Mason University, Obama insisted that he fully supports constitutional rights on gun ownership. He noted that gun sales have gone way up since he took office. He also scoffed at the notion that he is leading a conspiracy to take away people's guns. Obama took a series of executive actions this week aimed at curbing gun violence. He said he is doing what he can to keep guns out of the wrong hands.
The President repeated a call to Congress to do more, especially on broadening background checks. He noted that the government regulates safety on a wide variety of products, from toys to cars. Obama criticized the National Rifle Association for refusing to take part in the town hall event. He said the NRA has declined numerous White House invitations to take part in a rational conversation about gun safety. Obama also accused the NRA of "over the top rhetoric" in the debate over gun violence.
In a new op-ed for the New York Times, the President called gun violence an epidemic and a clear threat to public health and safety. He said he will not campaign or vote for any political candidate who does not support "common-sense gun reform." Obama noted that more than 30-thousand Americans are killed in acts of gun violence every year. He said the U.S. is the "only advanced nation on earth that sees this kind of mass violence with this frequency."