Talking Points Memo has a transcript of Obama’s Full Remarks On Guns From Urban League Speech. I don’t believe these have been conveniently edited to make it seem that Obama said the opposite of what he actually said. I think the excerpt below is also faithful to the spirit of what he said.
But what I said in the wake of Tucson was we were going to stay on this, persistently. So we’ve been able to take some actions on our own, recognizing that it’s not always easy to get things through Congress these days. The background checks conducted on those looking to purchase firearms are now more thorough and more complete. Instead of just throwing more money at the problem of violence, the federal government is now in the trenches with communities and schools and law enforcement and faith-based institutions, with outstanding mayors like Mayor Nutter and Mayor Landrieu – recognizing that we are stronger when we work together.
So in cities like New Orleans, we’re partnering with local officials to reduce crime, using best practices. And in places like Boston and Chicago, we’ve been able to help connect more young people to summer jobs so that they spend less time on the streets. In cities like Detroit and Salinas, we’re helping communities set up youth prevention and intervention programs that steer young people away from a life of gang violence, and towards the safety and promise of a classroom.
But even though we’ve taken these actions, they’re not enough. Other steps to reduce violence have been met with opposition in Congress. This has been true for some time – particularly when it touches on the issues of guns. And I, like most Americans, believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual the right to bear arms. And we recognize the traditions of gun ownership that passed on from generation to generation -– that hunting and shooting are part of a cherished national heritage.
By contrast, Mitt Romney seems to have said that he doesn’t think there needs to be any new laws about guns. As John Stewart pointed out in his commentary, there are people who think we need to pass laws about wearing costumes to movie theaters. Perhaps Romney thinks this is the way to solve the problem. Costumes are certainly not protected by the Second Amendment although they might be protected by the First Amendment.
So if we have a complaint about society, would it be better to protect our right to say something before we protect our right to shoot something?