Obama Responds To Gun-Control Petitions

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 21 2012 10:10 AM

Americans Finally Figure Out How To Use the White House's We The People Website

Since the Obama administration set up the We The People petition-generating website last year it's mostly been in the headlines for the wrong reasons. In the wake of November's election it was flooded with petitions and counter-petitions from voters requesting that their state be allowed to secede from the union, and others demanding those who signed such petitions be deported. That's to say nothing of the efforts dealing with even more unlikely requests, like building a Death Star or forcing Jerry Jones to sell the Cowboys.

Last Friday, however, attention turned to a weightier topic, one that was likely more in line with what the preisdent's team had in mind when they first conceived of the website. As police were still on the scene at Sandy Hook Elementary, thousands flooded the site to demand Obama take action on gun control. Since then, hundreds of thousands more have signed on to the effort, with one of the first such petitions quickly becoming the fastest to reach the 25,000 signatures needed to earn a direct response from the White House. (The previous record-holder: a petition on Texas secession.)

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This morning, the president offered his response, which in short asked the petition signees to keep it up. "You've started something and now I'm asking for you to keep at it," the president said in video posted online. "I'm asking for your help to make a real, meaningful difference in the lives of our communities in our country and make sure the United States of America is a safer, stronger place for our children to learn and to grow."

Here's the video in full:

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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