An online petition addressed to the White House, which calls for addressing the issue of gun control immediately through a legislation in US Congress, has secured over 43,000 signatures in the aftermath of a tragic shooting at an elementary school that left 20 children and six teachers dead.
As soon as the petition opened for signatures, it quickly reached the threshold of 25,000 signatures required for the White House to respond. By last evening, more than 43,000 people had signed the petition.
“The goal of this petition is to force the Obama administration to produce a legislation that limits access to guns. While a national dialogue is critical, laws are the only means in which we can reduce the number of people murdered in gun-related deaths,” the petition said.
“Powerful lobbying groups allow the ownership of guns to reach beyond the Constitution’s intended purpose of the right to bear arms. Therefore, Congress must act on what is stated law, and face the reality that access to firearms reaches beyond what the Second Amendment (which protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms) intends to achieve,” it said.
In fact, at least eight petitions popped up on the White House petition Web site after the deadly shooting in a Newtown school in Connecticut. All petitions were related to the gun culture.
Earlier in the day, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney refused to answer questions on gun control laws, saying that “today is not the day” to discuss this issue. But one of the online petitions addressed to the White House differed.
“We urgently disagree. If we cannot discuss prevention of massacres like this one while the pain is still fresh, then our opportunities to have that discussion will be few and far between. The frequency of these horrifying incidents is increasing,” said the petition, signed by more than 7,000 people.
“If a day on which two dozen schoolchildren are massacred is not the day to discuss this, there never will be a proper day for the discussion. Stand up to the entrenched gun lobby now. The White House must take the lead on enacting strict controls on all firearms in the US,” it said.
'Time to take meaningful action'
After the shooting, US President Barack Obama said meaningful action should be taken to prevent future shooting tragedies.
“It is time to take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics,” he said.
Another petition called for starting the process to enact federal gun control reforms.
“Every week it seems that we are facing a new headline of mass shootings — two in the last week alone. The Constitution gives us the right to bear arms and no one wants to take that right away, but we need real gun control reforms,” it said.
“Background checks, restricted access to semi-automatic weapons, waiting periods, all need to be part of a robust gun control policy that will allow people to keep their guns but provide a responsible framework to gun ownership,” it said.