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Obama asks Americans to help with gun law changes

A website set up by the White House to solicit petitions has been flooded in the wake of last Friday's gun massacre at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school, and today, President Obama issued a video response to petitioners, indicating that he hears the outpouring loud and clear.

"We hear you," said Mr. Obama. "Like the majority of Americans, I believe the Second Amendment guarantees the right to bear arms...It's encouraging that many gun owners have stepped up this week to say there are steps we can take to prevent more tragedies like the one in Newtown - steps that both protect our rights and protect our kids."

"This week I called on Congress to take up and pass common sense legislation that has the support of a majority of the American people, including banning the sale of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips."

The president also referenced the gun violence task force he created, chaired by Vice President Biden, that has been tasked with generating policy ideas about how to reduce gun violence.

"I can't do it alone, I need your help," explained the president. "If we're going to succeed, it's going to take a sustained effort from mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, law enforcement and responsible gun owners, organizing, speaking up, calling their members of Congress as many times as it takes, standing up and saying 'enough' on behalf of all our kids."

Over 400,000 signatures have been collected on petitions related to gun violence since the tragedy in Connecticut - one of the petitions was the fastest ever to reach the 25,000 signature threshold that would compel a response from the White House. One typical petition urges the White House to "Immediately address the issue of gun control through the introduction of legislation in Congress."

"The goal of this petition is to force the Obama Administration to produce 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," reads the petition. "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 intends to achieve."