White House Response

Recently, I wrote a letter to President Obama apologizing for the embarrassing way he was treated when he visited families of the Umpqua Community College shooting here in Oregon.  Today I received this thoughtful response, and I thought I would share it.

The White House, Washington

Thank you for writing.  I have received messages from all over the country regarding gun violence and firearms policy.  Your voice is important to raising the volume on this national conversation, and I appreciate your taking the time to share your comments on the devastating shooting in Oregon.  Many of us have been shaken by senseless acts of violence across our Nation, and far too many families know the grief of having loved ones stolen by a bullet in places where they were supposed to be safe.  Michelle and I are deeply saddened by these all-too-common tragedies.
But our anguish is not enough.  As a society, we must guard the sense of safety that has been broken by the high‑profile shootings that have caught headlines and the daily heartbreaks that plague our neighborhoods.  Like most Americans, I believe the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms.  And like most Americans—including most gun owners—I believe we must adopt commonsense gun safety measures that will protect our children and our communities.
Although a minority of the Senate voted down commonsense legislation to expand criminal background checks and make gun trafficking a Federal crime, I remain committed to doing everything in my power to reduce gun violence.  Since January 2013, my Administration has taken numerous steps to make our schools safer, increase access to mental health services, and keep some of the most dangerous firearms out of the wrong hands.  This includes directing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other scientific agencies to conduct or sponsor critical research into the causes of gun violence and the ways to prevent it.  We cannot and will not be passive, and we will continue our efforts to protect more of our citizens—with or without Congress.
In our open society, we can never eliminate every risk.  But I have sensed a creeping resignation that these tragedies are somehow the new normal.  We can’t accept this.  To change Washington, the American people need to sustain passion and persistence on this issue.  Because if there is even one thing we can do to reduce gun violence, if even one life can be saved, then we have an obligation to try.
Again, thank you for sharing your perspective with me.  I encourage you to visit www.WhiteHouse.gov/NowIsTheTime to learn more about the actions my Administration is taking to reduce gun violence and protect our children and our communities.
Barack Obama

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