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"I don't know that any of them would have been stopped by a background check."
The widow of "American Sniper" Chris Kyle confronted President Barack Obama Thursday night, challenging the president on the effectiveness of gun control legislation and asking why he doesn't more often note that violent crime has decreased during his presidency.
"I don't know that any of them would have been stopped by a background check," Taya Kyle told Obama of those who have committed mass shootings.
"So I think part it we have to recognize is we cannot outlaw murder," she said. "Because the people who are murdering are breaking the law, but they also don't have the moral code that we have. So they can do the same amount of damage with a pipe bomb. The problem is that they want to murder."
Kyle later noted that "we are at the lowest murder rate in our country. All time of low of murders. All time high for gun ownership."
"Why not celebrate where we are?" she asked the president.
Obama replied, "First of all, thanks to your husband for his service and thank you for your service. Because extraordinary heroism that he and your family have shown. And I'm very grateful for that."
"Number two, what you said about murder rates and violent crime generally is something we don't celebrate enough," he agreed. "The fact of the matter is that violent crime has been steadily declining across America for a pretty long time. And you wouldn't always know it from watching television."
"Now, I challenge the notion that the reason for that is that there is more gun ownership. Because if you look at the where the areas are with the highest gun ownership, those are the places that the crime hasn't dropped down that much," Obama said.
The president stated that he was "not sure" there is a "one-to-one correlation there."
"But I think the most important point I want to make is that you will be able to purchase a firearm, some criminals will get their hands on firearms even if there is a background check ... But in the same way that we don't eliminate all traffic accidents but over the course of 20 years traffic accidents get lower ... but over time that violence was reduced so families are spared. That's the same thing we can do with gun ownership," he concluded.
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