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obama vows to work harder to stem level of gun violence across us in wake of recent colorado massacre

NEW ORLEANS — President Barack Obama pledged yesterday to work with leaders of all political stripes to “arrive at a consensus” on how to reduce gun violence across the United States after the Colorado shootings highlighted the issue in an election year.

Closing out a multi-day trip that began in Aurora, Colorado, where he met with families and victims of the movie theatre massacre there, Obama told a mostly African-American audience that such tragedies are replayed on a smaller scale in cities throughout the country on a daily basis.

“Every day and a half the number of young people we lose to violence is about the same as the number of people we lost in that movie theatre,” Obama said in remarks to the National Urban League, a group that works to promote civil rights and economic improvement for African-Americans.

“I’m going to continue to work with members of both parties and with religious groups and with civic organisations to arrive at a consensus around violence reduction.”

Discussing or even touching on the issue of gun control during an election year is risky, and Obama has been careful to avoid making proposals that could offend gun owners and rally his Republican opponents.

Supports right to bear arms

The president made a point of emphasising his support for the US Constitution’s Second Amendment, which covers the right to bear arms.

“We recognise the traditions of gun ownership that passed on from generation to generation, that hunting and shooting are part of a cherished national heritage,” Obama said.

“But I also believe that a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals. That they belong on the battlefield of war, not on the streets of our cities.”

Obama did not make any new proposals on gun control in his remarks, though he said background checks for people seeking to buy firearms were more thorough since he took office. (Reuters)

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