White House Gun Control Petition Quickly Surpasses Required Signature Count

White balloons decorate the sign for the Sandy Hook Elementary School as a Connecticut State Trooper stands guard at the school’s entrance, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. A gunman killed his mother at their home and later walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School Friday and opened fire, killing 26 people, including 20 children. (AP)

An online petition calling on the White House to immediately address the issue of gun control quickly surpassed the required number of signatures Friday, hours after the Connecticut elementary school massacre.

“The goal of this petition is to force the Obama Administration to produce legislation that limits access to guns,” the petition states in part. “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.”

Petitions on the White House’s “We the People” online petition site require 25,000 signatures within a month to garner an official administration response. The petition met that goal Friday evening; by Saturday morning it had reached more than 68,000 signatures.

“Powerful lobbying groups allow the ownership of guns to reach beyond the Constitution’s intended purpose of the right to bear arms,” the petition states. “Therefore, Congress must act on what is stated law, and face the reality that access to firearms reaches beyond what the Second Amendment intends to achieve.”

White House press secretary Jay Carney on Friday demurred on the issue of gun control, saying it was a day to mourn, not to pursue policy.

“There is — I am sure will be, rather — a day for discussion of the usual Washington policy debates, but I do not think today is that day,” Carney said.

Speaking about the shooting later on Friday, President Barack Obama vowed to take “meaningful action” to prevent more such tragedies from taking place in the future.