The gun control debate in America has long been a political hot-button issue, and President Barack Obama has staunchly advocated for stricter laws.
Here are eight times the president has addressed the issue.
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1. "We're a nation that believes in the Second Amendment, and I believe in the Second Amendment. We've got a long tradition of hunting and sportsmen and people who want to make sure they can protect themselves. My belief is that we have to enforce the laws we've already got, make sure that we're keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, those who are mentally ill. We've done a much better job in terms of background checks, but we've got more to do when it comes to enforcement. But weapons that were designed for soldiers in war theaters don't belong on our streets. Part of it is seeing if we can get an assault weapons ban reintroduced. But part of it is also looking at other sources of the violence. Because frankly, in my home town of Chicago, there's an awful lot of violence and they're not using AK-47s. They're using cheap hand guns." – Presidential debate, Oct. 16, 2012.
2. "It has been two months since Newtown. This is not the first time this country has debated how to reduce gun violence. But this time is different. Overwhelming majorities of Americans — Americans who believe in the Second Amendment — have come together around common-sense reform -- like background checks that will make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun. Senators of both parties are working together on tough new laws to prevent anyone from buying guns for resale to criminals. Police chiefs are asking our help to get weapons of war and massive ammunition magazines off our streets. Each of these proposals deserves a vote in Congress. If you want to vote no, that's your choice. But these proposals deserve a vote. Because in the two months since Newtown, more than a thousand birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun. Gabby Giffords deserves a vote. The families of Newtown deserve a vote. The families of Aurora deserve a vote." – State of the Union address, Feb. 12, 2013.
3. "Citizenship means standing up for the lives that gun violence steals from us each day. I have seen the courage of parents, students, pastors, and police officers all over this country who say 'we are not afraid,' and I intend to keep trying, with or without Congress, to help stop more tragedies from visiting innocent Americans in our movie theaters, shopping malls, or schools like Sandy Hook." — State of the Union address, Jan. 28, 2014.
4. "I think we can provide common-sense approaches to the issue of illegal guns that are ending up on the streets. We can make sure that criminals don’t have guns in their hands. We can make certain that those who are mentally deranged are not getting a hold of handguns. We can trace guns that have been used in crimes to unscrupulous gun dealers that may be selling to straw purchasers and dumping them on the streets." — 2008 Philadelphia primary debate, April 16, 2008.
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5. As a United States Senator, Obama spoke about licensing and registering gun owners. At the Jan. 15, 2008, Democratic debate in Las Vegas, he was asked if he would do that as president.
"I don't think that we can get that done, but what we can do is to provide just some common-sense enforcement. The efforts by law enforcement to obtain the information required to trace back guns that have been used in crimes to unscrupulous gun dealers. As president, I intend to make it happen. We essentially have two realities, when it comes to guns, in this country. You’ve got the tradition of lawful gun ownership. It is very important for many Americans to be able to hunt, fish, take their kids out, teach them how to shoot. Then you've got the reality of 34 Chicago public school students who get shot down on the streets of Chicago. We can reconcile those two realities by making sure the Second Amendment is respected and that people are able to lawfully own guns, but that we also start cracking down on the kinds of abuses of firearms that we see on the streets."
6. During a Q&A on June 10, 2014, the president was asked a question about the rising number of school shootings since the elementary school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, and vowed to continue to fight for common-sense legislation.
"My biggest frustration so far is the fact that this society has not been willing to take some basic steps to keep guns out of the hands of people who can do just unbelievable damage. We're the only developed country on Earth where this happens. ... And it happens once a week. And it's a one-day story. ... The country has to do some soul-searching on this."
7. With that same piece, Obama also took issue with lawmakers who have tried to steer the gun-control argument toward the mentally ill, and point out that many mass shooters have suffered with mental health.
"The United States does not have a monopoly on crazy people. It's not the only country that has psychosis. And yet we kill each other in these mass shootings at rates that are exponentially higher than anyone else. Well, what's the difference? The difference is that these guys can stack up a bunch of ammunition in their houses, and that's sort of par for the course."
8. Later that month, Obama urged gun-control advocates to get as organized and well-financed as the National Rifle Association.
"Honestly this is not going to change unless the people who want to prevent these kinds of mass shootings from taking place feel at least as passionate, at least as mobilized and well-funded as the NRA and the gun manufacturers are because the politics in Congress are such where even members of Congress who know better are fearful if they vote their conscience and support common sense measures like background checks, they're worried they're going to lose," Obama said at a town hall meeting in Minneapolis.
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