President Obama was unable to make the NAACP convention, but he did address the National Urban League conference in New Orleans, where for the first time in his presidency he forcefully spoke out against gun violence.
The president said he stands by the Second Amendment and recognizes the traditions of hunting and gun ownership in America, but he said there is work left to be done in tackling gun violence in America, particularly in urban centers like Chicago, New Orleans and Atlanta.
“I also believe that a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals,” Obama said. “That they belong on the battlefield of war, not on the streets of our cities.”
The president also mentioned the victims of the mass shooting in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado that left 12 dead and dozens more injured.
“We should leave no stone unturned and recognize that we have no greater mission as a country than keeping our young people safe,” said the president, before adding that government can only do so much.
“Even as we debate government’s role, we have to understand that when a child opens fire on another child, there’s a hole in that child’s heart that government alone can’t fill,” the president said.