On October 27 President Obama addressed law enforcement personnel gathered in Chicago and said that “It is easier for a lot of young people in this city and [communities around the country] to buy a gun than it is to buy a book.”
He was speaking to the 122nd annual International Association of Chiefs of Police.
After addressing the inherent dangers of a job in law enforcement and the racial strife that has left tension between minority communities and police departments around the country, Obama suggested that more gun control via “common sense gun safety reforms” could be the starting point for making officers’ jobs easier.
Obama said, “To make our communities safer and to make our officers safer we’ve got to make it harder for criminals to cause chaos by getting their hands on deadly firearms.” He said, “A gun is a powerful instrument” that helps police do a dangerous job and which citizens own for sport or hunting or self-defense. But he stressed that it remains “too easy for criminals to buy guns.” And because of this, he said communities are “fearful,” and “streets [are] abandoned,” and parents aren’t as involved because being involved puts them at “risk of being shot.”
He told the chiefs, “You know that more guns on the streets does not make you or your communities safer.”
At two different points in the speech Obama said, “It is easier for a lot of young people in this city and [communities around the country] to buy a gun than buy a book.” He said, “It is easier to find a gun that it is to find some fresh vegetables.”
Obama then dismissed criticism of the failure of Chicago’s gun control laws by blaming Chicago’s skyrocketing gun crime on less gun control in other states. He said the solution is to put expanded background checks into place so that all states abide by the same federal standards. He criticized the availability of “military-style assault weapons,” which he said no one needs to own in order “to hunt a deer.”
He said it is “a travesty” that he can’t tell the families of shooting victims that America is doing all it can to prevent gun violence.
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