Funny how all the VIP's in the loon wing never seem to bring up Barry's two-year silence on guns either:
Gun control is a perilous issue for President Barack Obama (Exhibit A: his infamous statement in the 2008 campaign that working class voters “cling to guns”) so the push for new restrictions following the shootings in Tucson, Ariz., puts the president in an especially tricky political predicament.
Obama has supported most major gun and ammunition control initiatives during a decade and a half in public life, including renewing the expired ban on semiautomatic assault rifles. But while he has an unambiguously liberal record on guns, he talks about the issue using muted, nonconfrontational tones engineered to avoid alienating gun-friendly voters, a huge proportion of the electorate that has steadily drifted away from Obama.
That pattern has held true, and then some, in the wake of the assassination attempt against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the murder of six others earlier this month.
White House officials have remained noncommittal about an effort by liberals in the House and Senate to restrict access to the kind of high-capacity ammunition magazines that allowed suspect Jared Lee Loughner to inflict mass casualties in a matter of seconds using a single, legal handgun.
Gun control advocates say Obama, who often touts his willingness to defy prevailing political opinion in service of higher principle, has the moral responsibility to make some kind of statement on the issue — even if the bill has little chance of passing.
“If the president could address the issue in the State of the Union that would be really important,” says Paul Helmke, president of the Washington-based Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a major gun control group.
“If he could announce his support for the high-capacity clip legislation, that would be the best thing. The next best thing would be for him to support a presidential commission to study gun violence,” adds Helmke, the former mayor of Ft. Wayne, Ind. “But he can’t stay silent. Either way, he’s just got to do something.”
Obama didn’t address the issue head-on during his much-heralded speech in Tucson last week. The closest he came was to say, “We cannot and will not be passive in the face of such violence. We should be willing to challenge old assumptions in order to lessen the prospects of violence in the future.”
New York Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop, one of 42 House members to co-sponsor a bill limiting clip sizes to ten rounds, said “it obviously would be helpful” if Obama offered more explicit support.
“We’re not even talking about gun control here, we’re talking about limiting these crazy high-capacity clips,” Bishop added. “I don’t see how any reasonable person can oppose what we’re trying to do here. These clips aren’t used for hunting, unless you are talking about taking out a seriously energetic deer.”