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THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
EMBARGOED UNTIL DELIVERY
April 8, 2013

EMBARGOED: Excerpts of the President’s Remarks on Reducing Gun Violence

As Prepared for Delivery

“I noticed that Nicole and others refer to that day as “twelve-fourteen.”  For these families, it was a day that changed everything.  And I know many of you in Newtown wondered if the rest of us would live up to the promises we made in those dark days – if we’d change, too; or if, once the television trucks left, once the candles flickered out, once the teddy bears were gathered up – your country would move on to other things.”

“Newtown, we want you to know that we’re here with you.  We will not walk away from the promises we’ve made.  We are as determined as ever to do what must be done. “

“As soon as this week, Congress will begin debating commonsense proposals to reduce gun violence.  But Congress is only going to act on them if they hear from you – the American people.”

“Some back in Washington are already floating the idea that they might use political stunts to prevent votes on any of these reforms. Think about that.  They’re not just saying they’ll vote “no” on ideas that almost all Americans support.  They’re saying they won’t allow any votes on them at all.  They’re saying your opinion doesn’t matter.  And that’s not right.

I’ve also heard some in the press suggest that what happens to gun violence legislation in Congress this week will be a political victory or defeat for me.  You know what?  This isn’t about me.  And it shouldn’t be about politics.  This is about doing the right thing for families like yours that have been torn apart by gun violence, and families going forward.

When I said in my State of the Union Address that these proposals deserve a vote – that the families of Newtown, and Aurora, and Tucson, and their former colleague in that chamber, Gabby Giffords, all deserve a vote – virtually every member in that chamber stood up and applauded.  Now they’re going to deny those families – your families – a vote when the cameras are off and they think no one’s looking?  You deserve better.  You deserve a vote.

Look, we knew from the beginning of this debate that change wouldn’t be easy.  We knew there are powerful interests that are very good at changing the subject, at amplifying conflict and extremes over common ground, at drowning out rational debate by ginning up irrational fear.  That’s what too often stands in the way of progress.

But if our history teaches us anything, it’s that it’s up to all of us – the people – to stand up to those who say we can’t, and stand up for the change we need.  “

“If you’re an American who wants to do something to prevent more families from knowing the immeasurable anguish that these families know, now is the time to act.  Now is the time to get engaged, to get involved, to push back on fear, frustration, and misinformation.  Now is the time to make your voice heard from every state house to the corridors of Congress.”

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