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Obama: 'AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals'

In the wake of the shootings in Aurora, Colo., President Obama addressed the challenge of enacting stricter gun laws on Wednesday, saying that he "the majority of gun owners would agree" that "a mentally unbalanced individual should not be able to get his hands on a gun so easily."

"I, like most Americans believe that the 2nd Amendment guarantees an individual the right to bear arms," Obama told the National Urban League Convention in New Orleans. "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. I believe that the majority of gun owners would agree that we should do everything possible to prevent criminals and fugitives from purchasing weapons, that we should check someone's criminal record before they can check out a gun seller."

Obama added: "These steps shouldn't be controversial, they should be common sense."

The president acknowledged that after a mass shooting like the one in Aurora, or in Tucson, Ariz. last year, there's "always an outcry immediately after for action."

He continued: "Too often those efforts are defeated by politics and by lobbying, and eventually by the pull of our collective attention elsewhere."

But, he continued, though the White House has taken steps to combat gun violence on its own, "other steps to reduce violence have been met with opposition in Congress. This has been true for some time. Particularly when it touches on the issue of guns. And