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President Obama vows to take gun debate to the ballot box

President Obama vows to take gun debate to the ballot box

By Michael A. Memoli for The LA Times

President Obama defended steps he initiated this week aimed at reducing gun violence as a modest effort "just to make progress," underscoring the limits of his new unilateral actions while vowing to seek more significant change through the ballot box.

In a New York Times op-ed published Thursday evening just before he appeared at a nationally televised town hall meeting on gun violence, Obama pledged not to support any candidate for political office, even a fellow Democrat, if he or she does not support what he called "common-sense gun reform."

"And if the 90 percent of Americans who do support common-sense gun reforms join me, we will elect the leadership we deserve," he wrote.

Speaking later at the CNN-hosted forum at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., Obama explained the limited actions he announced this week while bristling at how he says his views on gun ownership have been "consistently mischaracterized" by political opponents.

"The way Washington changes is when people vote," Obama said. The debate won't change, he said, until gun control advocates show the same focus and discipline at the ballot box as those opposed to gun control. "And I'm going to throw my shoulders behind folks who want to actually solve problems instead of just getting a high score from an interest group."

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