At the “We the People” section of Whitehouse.gov, U.S. residents can publish any petition they wish and submit it to the site’s petition database. If a petition acquires 40,000 or more signatures, the White House will release an official response to the petition.
One petition on the site was posted two weeks after the Newton, Connecticut tragedy. The petition calls for a “Gun Free Zone” around President Obama, arguing that if the president and other politicians wish to impose stricter gun control laws on the general population, they should be subject to those laws themselves.
The petition passed the 40,000-signature mark, and the White House released their response today. As you’d expect, the White House said there’s no chance Obama’s security team will be stripped of their firearms.
“Those who are the subject of ongoing threats must receive the necessary and appropriate protection," the White House wrote in its response. “At the same time, all of us deserve to live in safer communities, which is why we need to take responsible, commonsense steps to reduce gun violence, even while respecting individual freedom.
“…our elected leaders and representatives are subject to serious, persistent, and credible threats on a daily basis,” the statement added.
The White House also noted that the President is legally required to be protected 24 hours a day by a security team. Congress passed this legislation in 1901, after the assassination of President William McKinley. McKinley was the third U.S. president to be assassinated while in office.