During a public address from the White House on Tuesday, President Barack Obama laid out a comprehensive plan to enact tighter gun control laws in the U.S. Core to the debate of gun control is the second amendment, which the president evoked more than once during his speech.
"I believe in the second amendment, that guarantees a right to bear arms," Obama said in the televised address. "I believe that we can find ways to reduce gun violence consistent with the second amendment." He continued by reminding his audience that as a former teacher of constitutional law, he knows "a thing or two" about it. Beyond that, Obama said he believes in and is fighting for "ways to reduce gun violence consistent with the second amendment."
Reacting to the news on Twitter, many came out in support of both Obama's statements and his approach to mention of the second amendment, among them democratic frontrunner and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Others reacting on Twitter, among them conservative politicians, discounted and rejected the president's statements outright.
In his opening remarks, Obama mourned the sheer number of times he's had to address the nation in response to a mass shooting, evoked Gabby Gifford and shared that fact that each year, more than 30,000 Americans "have their lives cut short by guns," as a result of gang violence, accidents, domestic abuse or other affronts.
"Hundreds of thousands of Americans have lost brothers and sisters," Obama said on Tuesday. "Many have had to learn to live with a disability. Or learn to live without the love of their life."
"A number of those people are here today," he added. They can tell you some stories."
The president continued by acknowledging that the U.S. is not the only advanced country in the world that's suffering from mass gun violence, but said that the frequency of mass gun violence in America is higher than elsewhere.
"Somehow we've become numb to it and we start thinking this is normal," Obama said. "Instead of thinking about how to solve the problem this has become one of our most polarized partisan debates."
Obama pointed to past presidents and lawmakers, across political parties, who have supported things like background checks, and argued that requiring background checks for firearms does not equate to a dismantling of the second amendment.
Perhaps as proof of partisanship and the complexity of the debate regarding tightening gun legislation, Obama quoted the 40th president of the U.S., Ronald Reagan, who, in 1991, expressed his support for the Brady Bill, a piece of legislation that would have increased gun laws at the time, saying that even if the bill's passage were to reduce the level of gun violence in America minimally, "it would be well worth making it the law of the land."
Reinforcing his position on Tuesday, Obama said inaction and excuses for heightened gun violence in America were not longer tolerable.
"People are dying and the constant excuses for inaction no longer do, no longer suffice," Obama said, adding, "I reject that thinking."
From the White House, here's a summary of today's policy announcement on tightened gun control, which include a plan to develop and update gun tracking technology much like what's currently available for tracking mobile devices and tightening background check standards and regulations.