Gun control petition clears White House response threshold

Olivier Knox
The Ticket

A petition calling on President Barack Obama to push for new gun control laws in the aftermath of the mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., has cleared the 25,000-signature threshold required to obtain a formal White House response.

The measure, filed in response to Friday's massacre, urges Obama to "immediately address the issue of gun control through the introduction of legislation in Congress."

"The goal of this petition is to force the Obama Administration to produce legislation that limits access to guns," it says. "While a national dialogue is critical, laws are the only means in which we can reduce the number of people murdered in gun related deaths."

Obama vowed on Friday to "take meaningful action, regardless of the politics," to prevent future tragedies like the shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

"Our hearts are broken today," Obama said in a brief statement in the White House briefing room, frequently pausing to wipe tears from his eyes. "The majority of those who died today were children, beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them: birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. Among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams."

His comments came shortly after White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters that "today's not the day" to push for gun control laws.

The petitioners plainly disagreed.

"Powerful lobbying groups allow the ownership of guns to reach beyond the Constitution's intended purpose of the right to bear arms. Therefore, Congress must act on what is stated law, and face the reality that access to firearms reaches beyond what the Second Amendment intends to achieve," the measure urges.

"The signatures on this petition represent a collective demand for a bipartisan discussion resulting in a set of laws that regulates how a citizen obtains a gun," it says.