Gun control petition breaks White House record

Posted at 12/18/12 7:02 AM

WASHINGTON - In just three days since the Newtown school shooting, more than 150,000 people have signed a petition calling on US President Barack Obama to produce legislation that limits access to guns.

Support for the gun control drive, posted on the White House "We the People" website on Friday, neared 158,000 signatures at around 2200 GMT on Monday, already a new record for such a petition.

"Powerful lobbying groups allow the ownership of guns to reach beyond the Constitution's intended purpose of the right to bear arms," it says, referring to groups like the country's powerful National Rifle Association (NRA).

"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," says the petition, available at www.whitehouse.gov.

"The signatures on this petition represent a collective demand for a bipartisan discussion resulting in a set of laws that regulates how a citizen obtains a gun," it says.

The United States is reeling from a massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday that left 20 young children and six adults dead.

The shooter, who is also believed to have killed his mother at the house they shared before embarking on the school massacre, took his own life as police closed in.

Obama vowed Sunday at an emotional vigil in the grief-stricken New England town to use all his power to stop such gun massacres happening again, saying "these tragedies must end."

The White House has not yet specified what Obama has in mind.

But there is talk of a drive to renew a ban on assault weapons which expired in 2004, and of limits on the availability and size of fast-firing magazines.

An assault weapon ban was passed in 1994 under president Bill Clinton but it expired in 2004 and was never resurrected. Obama supported restoring the law while running for president in 2008 but did not make it a priority during his first term.

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