Obama: 'Common Sense Regulation' on Gun Owners' Rights

ABC News' David Wright, Ursula Fahy and Sunlen Miller Report: After another campus shooting, this time in his home state of Illinois, Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama offered thoughts and prayers for the victims and their families.  But no new ideas for gun control.

"Today we offer them our prayers, but we must also offer them our determination to do whatever it takes to eradicate this violence from our streets and our schools," he said.

But Obama has been careful, throughout the campaign, to play down the issue of gun control, no doubt mindful that to do so would alienate many of the independent and Republican voters he is hoping to win over. 

In fact, in the speech Obama gave immediately after the Virginia Tech shootings last April, he never uttered the phrase "gun control."

Today Obama reiterated his support for tighter enforcement of laws already on the books – such as stronger background checks and enhancing programs to trace the provenance of guns used in crimes.  He would also seek to close the loopholes that currently apply to firearms purchased at gun shows.

But asked today about the DC handgun ban currently being reviewed by the US Supreme Court, Obama declined to take a position for or against its Constitutionality but did express broad support for the rights of local jurisdictions to make such decisions for themselves.

Watch the VIDEO HERE.

"The city of Chicago has gun laws, so does Washington, DC," Obama said.  "The notion that somehow local jurisdictions can't initiate gun safety laws to deal with gangbangers and random shootings on the street isn't born out by our Constitution."

Obama often boasts, in his stump speeches, that he would be a President who understands the Constitution because he has taught the Constitution.  Today a reporter asked for his interpretation of the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms, which gun owners often cite in their arguments against gun control.

Obama said this: "There's been a long standing argument by constitutional scholars about whether the second amendment referred simply to militias or it spoke to an individual right to possess arms. I think the latter is the better argument. There is an individual right to bear arms, but it is subject to common-sense regulation just like most of our rights are subject to common-sense regulation. So I think there's a lot of room before you getting bumping against a constitutional barrier for us to institute some of the common-sense gun laws that I just spoke about."

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