He said it during one of the presidential debates and now gun control advocates are pressing President Obama to act on his embrace of a new assault weapons ban targeting weapons like the popular AR-15 style of semi-automatic rifle.
"Prompted by a question from New Yorker Nina Gonzalez during the second presidential debate, President Obama discussed solutions such as banning assault weapons and background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill," said Dan Gross, president of the anti-gun Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
"We were heartened by the president's response and stand ready to work with President Obama and leaders of both political parties in Congress to adopt and implement effective policies to reduce gun violence," he added.
His reelection still fresh, it is unclear what path to a new assault weapons ban Obama will take--or when. Gun groups, however, claim that efforts to renew the ban, put into effect by former President Bill Clinton and allowed to expire by former President George W. Bush, are underway in the Senate.
Obama is expected to face stiff opposition from the National Rifle Association, which is also girding for a Supreme Court nomination battle should the president get another chance to name a justice to the court. "If Obama is reelected and appoints more justices," warned the NRA right before the election, "gun owners would have much to fear."
Gun advocates are wasting no time. Larry Hyatt, president of Hyatt Guns in Charlotte, N.C., and one of the nation's biggest sellers, is bracing for a sales surge. He told Secrets, "We definitely expect a boost in all tactical rifle sales, both AR-15s and AK-47s. I also expect a bump in sales across the board, especially on ammo."
Brady's Gross is unconcerned. He cited polls, "including gun owners and NRA members," who support some kind of checks on gun purchases like background checks. "The American public knows that we are better than a nation where mass shootings, like the one in Aurora, Colorado happen with such alarming frequency, and nothing is done about 32 more gun murders every day," he said.