Obama took on calls for gun control coming from his left in a speech at the National Urban League convention in New Orleans yesterday, saying that AK-47s “belong on the battlefield of war, not on the streets of our cities” while also repeating his own belief that the right to bear arms is “part of a cherished national heritage”. He promised to leave no stone unturned in pursuing talks about how to reduce gun violence, then blamed Congress for his not pursuing the tighter gun control he promised last time he was on the campaign trail in 2008. like then, he’s now saying he supports measures to conduct background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, fugitives and the mentally ill. What he’s not saying is that he’ll actually push for legislation. “White House aides have acknowledged new gun laws are still politically impossible in the current election-year climate.”
The trouble is, there’s never going to be a climate for real change to gun control legislation until a president uses his bully-pulpit to take on the NRA. Digby passes along this telling piece from CQ:
I asked a Democratic legislative staffer for a first-person description of the NRA’s power on the Hill. Here’s the response I got, on the condition that I not provide any further identifying information. It’s pretty breathtaking.
We do absolutely anything they ask and we NEVER cross them””which includes asking permission to cosponsor any bills endorsed by the Humane Society (the answer is usually no) and complying with their demand to oppose the DISCLOSE Act, neither of which have anything to do with guns. They’ve completely shut down the debate over gun control. It’s really incredible. I’m not sure when we decided that a Democrat in a marginal district who loses his A rating from the NRA automatically loses reelection.
…The White House has already passed on using Aurora as a rallying cry for something like renewing the assault weapons ban, preferring instead to focus on enforcing “existing law.”
Meanwhile, the spike in Colorado gun buying shows that many currently-legal gun owners would be quite happy to own their guns illegally and prepare for doing exactly that every time there is talk of more control.
Then there’s the racist conspiracy theorists….