TUCSON, March 13 (UPI) -- In a column published in Tucson, President Barack Obama called Sunday for stronger steps to keep unstable people from getting guns.
"I believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms," the president wrote in The Arizona Daily Star. "… My administration has not curtailed the rights of gun owners -- it has expanded them."
But the fact Jared Loughner was able to buy the gun he's accused of using to kill six people and wound 13 others, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., in Tucson Jan. 8, despite many warning signs, shows the need "to keep an irresponsible, law-breaking few … from getting their hands on a gun in the first place," he wrote.
Specifically, Obama called for bolstering the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which relies on "often incomplete and inadequate" data from the states.
He said states that provide the best data should be rewarded, and the system should be made "faster and nimbler," as well as "accurate, comprehensive and consistent."
"If common sense prevails," he said, "we can get beyond wedge issues and stale political debates to find a sensible, intelligent way to make the United States of America a safer, stronger place."