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Obama appeals for ordinary Americans to take on gun lobby

In an emotional press conference, President Obama unveiled his "concrete steps" to keep kids safe, asking that Congress restore a ban on military-style assault weapons, make it easier for mental health professionals to report threats of violence and put a limit on ammunition. NBC's Chuck Todd reports.

President Barack Obama has appealed to ordinary Americans to lobby members of Congress over gun control to counter the power of the pro-gun lobby.

In an opinion article written for the Connecticut Post, Obama urged people to ask their politicians “why getting an A-grade from the gun lobby is more important than giving parents some peace of mind when they drop their child off for first grade.”

On Wednesday, Obama laid out a plan to require criminal background checks on all gun sales, ban “military-style” assault weapons, limit magazines to 10 rounds, and strengthen penalties for gun trafficking.

The proposals have proved highly controversial with several sheriffs across the country vowing not to enforce restrictions that could be imposed by Congress or by executive order.

And, in Texas, a lawmaker has authored the Firearm Protection Act, which he says would “make any federal law banning semiautomatic firearms or limiting the size of gun magazines unenforceable within the state's boundaries.”

In his Connecticut Post article, Obama admitted of his gun-control plans that “none of this will be easy.”

“Already we're seeing pundits, politicians, and special interest lobbyists warning of a tyrannical, all-out assault on liberty -- not because it's true, but because it gins up fear, or higher ratings, or more revenue for themselves,” the president wrote.

“The truth is, there's only one voice powerful enough to make this happen: yours. If you think we've suffered too much pain to allow this to continue, put down the paper, turn off the computer, and get your Members of Congress on record,” he wrote.

“Ask them if they support universal background checks or renewing a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. And if they say no, ask them why not,” he added.

On his proposed ban on assault weapons, Obama said that “weapons designed for theaters of war have no place in movie theaters.”

He insisited most Americans agreed with this and reached out to gun owners.

“This is the land of the free, and it always will be. As Americans, we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights that no man or government can take away from us. But we also recognize that along with those rights come responsibilities. Along with our freedom to live our lives as we will comes an obligation to allow others to do the same,” Obama said.

“Like most Americans, I believe the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. There are millions of responsible, law-abiding gun owners in this country who cherish their right to bear arms for hunting, or sport; protection, or collection,” he added.

“But I also believe most gun owners agree that we can respect the Second Amendment while keeping an irresponsible, law-breaking few from doing harm. I believe most of them agree that if America worked harder to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, there would be fewer atrocities like the one in Connecticut. And that's what these commonsense reforms are designed to do.”