Obama discusses gun control
As President Obama added his voice to the push for stricter gun rules in the wake of the Colorado movie theater massacre, the suggestion made a prompt thud on Capitol Hill when the top Senate Democrat said he can’t fit the gun control debate in the schedule.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, asked Thursday about Obama’s remarks on gun control the night before, said the Senate’s packed schedule precludes any action on firearms legislation. Asked if the Senate might debate the issue next year, Reid said, “Nice try.”
“Packed schedule”? They never do anything!
I believe the Second Amendment guarantees an individual the right to bear arms,” Obama said. “But I also believe that a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not on the streets of our cities.”
He called for stepped-up background checks for people who want to purchase guns and said he would also seek a national consensus on combating violence.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney clarified Thursday that the president is not necessarily talking about new laws.
“He believes that we can enhance the enforcement of existing laws by making it more difficult for those who should not have weapons under existing laws … to obtain weapons,” Carney said.
He noted that Obama supports the reinstatement of the assault weapons ban which expired in 2004, but said he wants to focus on strengthening background checks “given the stalemate in Congress.”
The President also blamed “politics and lobbying” for defeating gun control measures. One wonders if he sees the activists who stop development the same way.
The bottom line here is Harry Reid and President Obama both know that gun control is not something Congress can do without bring on the full wrath of the NRA and rural America in general. But it can be attempted by the executive branch through tweaking the procedures surrounding background checks or other things on the enforcement side. Obama did campaign on a promise to bring about stricter gun laws in 2008, and his latest statements should be taken very seriously despite the fact that Congress is unlikely to move on the issue.