U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Holder told students at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta on Thursday that there are too many guns in the hands of the wrong people.
He said President Obama is pushing for universal background checks.
He said “It’ll make sure that anyone who wants to buy a gun should be a person who is entitled to have one. We have second amendment rights and there’s nothing in what the President is trying to do that will affect those second amendment rights.”
Holder said currently people with mental health issues and people with felony records are not allowed to own guns. He said President Obama has asked him to look into expanding the categories of people who shouldn't be allowed to own guns.
He brought up the need to stop gun violence, citing two student shootings in the past week, one at Price Middle school in Atlanta and one at Moorehouse College.
He said “Now both of these events are shocking. They are outrageous. They’re stupid. And they stand as reminders of the epidemic that in one way or another touches every city and town in this country. Today, together, it’s time to declare that this violence must end. It’s time for our country to respond.”
Holder reminded students at the historically black school that the leading cause of death among young black men is homicide.
He urged students to continue the civil rights struggle begun by their parents and grandparents.
A student asked Holder about the number of African Americans in Georgia who aren’t registered to vote. Holder said that is close to a crime in the face of the civil rights struggle.
“And to think that you’ve got 450 thousand or so people in Georgia, and countless others around the country who are not registered to vote. That’s like turning your back on your history, and that those sacrifices were meaningless.”he said
Holder urged all the students to encourage their friends and families to register to vote and to exercise that right.
Clark Atlanta doctoral candidate Kaemanje Thomas said he was uplifted by Holder’s speech.
He said “It is very enlightening just to have someone who represents us, as a people, speak on issues that is extremely endemic to our community.”
Holder was delivering comments as part of the historically black school’s Presidential Lecture Series.