Barack Obama gun control

AP

President Barack Obama made some of his most direct remarks yet on gun violence Wednesday, calling it “common sense” to keep assault weapons off the streets and to bar criminals from being able to purchase weapons.

“I, like most Americans, believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual the right to bear arms. I think we recognize the traditions of gun ownership that passed on from generation to generation, that hunting and shooting are part of a national heritage,” Obama said in a speech to National Urban League, six days after the mass movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo. “But 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; that they belong on the battlefield of war, not on the streets of our cities.”

He continued, “I believe the majority of gun owners would agree we should do everything possible to prevent criminals and fugitives from purchasing weapons, and we should check someone’s criminal record before they can check out a gun seller, that a mentally unbalanced individual should not be able to get his hands on a gun so easily.”

While there’s been a sharp uptick in calls for more gun control following the Aurora shooting, such talk has so far received little support from lawmakers in a position to enact it. Obama decried the political and lobbying efforts he said “too often” seek to defeat such changes, and pledged to work with members of both parties on an overall “violence reduction.”

“These steps shouldn’t be controversial, they should be common sense,” Obama said.

Watch a portion of Obama’s speech below, via Mediaite: