Obama Joins Romney in Gun-Control Silence After Shootings
July 23, 2012
John McCormick / Bloomberg News
President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney have spoken little about gun control in their campaigns for the White House and showed no sign of shifting course after one of the deadliest shootings in recent US history. "It's not one of the issues that either candidate has shown much inclination to discuss," Don Kettl, dean of the school of public policy at the University of Maryland, said. "There are more downside risks than upside gains in talking about it."
(July 21, 2012) -- President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney have spoken little about gun control in their campaigns for the White House and showed no sign of shifting course after one of the deadliest shootings in recent US history.
"It's not one of the issues that either candidate has shown much inclination to discuss," Don Kettl, dean of the school of public policy at the University of Maryland, said. "There are more downside risks than upside gains in talking about it."
At least 12 people were killed and 59 were injured when a gunman in a gas mask opened fire early yesterday in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, according to a federal official who asked for anonymity. A suspect, James Holmes, 24, was taken into custody after the 12:30 a.m. attack in the Denver suburb.
Speaking yesterday in Fort Myers, Florida, Obama made no mention of gun control as he called for a moment of silence for the victims. The president canceled later campaign events, returned to Washington and ordered US flags flown at half- staff at federal facilities. Romney, who as Massachusetts governor in 2004 signed legislation banning assault-style weapons, also sidestepped the gun issue in a speech in Bow, New Hampshire, calling the killings a "hateful act."
Obama called on Americans to choose compassion over conflict following a January 2011 shooting rampage in Arizona that killed six, including a 9-year-old girl, and critically wounded US Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who later stepped down from her House seat. He didn't push for any additional gun measures in the wake of that shooting.
Democrats became cautious about pushing gun control measures after Al Gore's defeat in the 2000 presidential election, which many in the party blamed in part on the issue. The then-head of the Democratic Party, Terry McAuliffe, encouraged candidates to avoid the gun issue because of its "devastating impact on elections."
Gun-control advocates have expressed disappointment in Obama's administration and said they hope he will be more aggressive on the issue should he win re-election. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday called on Obama and Romney to tell Americans "specifically what are they going to do about guns?"
"Soothing words are nice, but maybe it's time that the two people who want to be president of the United States stand up and tell us what they are going to do about it, because this is obviously a problem across the country," Bloomberg said in an interview on WOR Radio.
In an interview taped for broadcast tomorrow on CBS News's "Face the Nation," Bloomberg said it's time for Romney and Obama "to be called, held accountable," according to excerpts released by the network.
The mayor is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.
"The president believes that we need to take common-sense measures that protect Second Amendment rights of Americans, while ensuring that those who should not have guns under existing law do not get them," White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One yesterday. "There has been progress in that regard in terms of improving the volume and quality of information in background checks."
Andrea Saul, a Romney spokeswoman, said in a statement that the campaign planned to pull all ads in Colorado, a battleground state, "until further notice." Jen Psaki, a spokeswoman for Obama's re-election campaign, told reporters it temporarily won't run ads in Colorado that contrast the president with Romney.
In an April speech, Romney said he didn't want to see any new gun laws.
"We need a president who will enforce current laws, not create new ones that only serve to burden lawful gun owners," the presumptive Republican nominee said in an April 13 speech to a National Rifle Association convention in St. Louis.
"We need a president who will stand up for the rights of hunters, sportsmen and those who seek to protect their homes and their families," he said. "President Obama has not; I will."
The legislation Romney signed into law in 2004 was passed by Massachusetts lawmakers to ban assault-style semiautomatic weapons as a federal prohibition was about to expire. Congress hasn't renewed that ban.
When he sought the Republican nomination before the 2008 election Romney defended that law, saying it also "provided for a relaxation of licensing requirements for gun owners in Massachusetts." He told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Dec. 16, 2007, that he favored laws to "keep weapons of unusual lethality from being on the street."
During that appearance, Romney said he also favored a background check for prospective gun purchases "to make sure that the crazies don't buy guns."
PaulM, 07/20/2012 02:21 PM
The theatre in which this shooting took place was a gun free zone -- guns are not allowed per company policy. Microstamping, magazine capacity limitations, and all the other so called "common sense" measures proposed by gun control advocates would not have prevented this horrible tragedy. No "gun control" measure will change the hearts and minds of evil and/or deranged people like this shooter. Yes, background and mental health checks are important (and supported by most gun owners and the NRA), and perhaps these can be strengthened.
But the real problem can be seen by the fact that so many people packed these theaters at 12 midnight to watch a gratuitously violent movie, some even bringing their young children. Why is our society so fascinated by violence and graphic violent images? Sixty years ago you could order a rifle from a mail order catalog and rifle teams and the shooting sports were common in schools and random mass shootings were virtually unheard of.
Now guns are taboo in certain "enlgihtened and progressive" segments of our society yet those same progressives who support "gun control" have no problem with the incessant portrayal of graphic violence in movies, on tv and in video games.
Guns are not the problem. Our sick society is the problem.
58 Murders a Year by Firearms:
In Britain, 8,775 in US
Posted on 07/21/2012 by Juan
Number of Murders, United States, 2010: 12,996
Number of Murders by Firearms, US, 2010: 8,775
Number of Murders, Britain, 2011*: 638
(Since Britain’s population is 1/5 that of US, this is equivalent to 3,095 US murders)
Number of Murders by firearms, Britain, 2011*: 58
(equivalent to 290 US murders)
Number of Murders by crossbow in Britain, 2011*: 2 (equivalent to 10 US murders).
For more on murder by firearms in Britain, see the BBC.
The international comparisons show conclusively that fewer gun owners per capita produce not only fewer murders by firearm, but fewer murders per capita over all. In the case of Britain, firearms murders are 30 times fewer than in the US per capita.
Do hunters really need semi-automatic AR-15 assault weapons? Is that how they roll in deer season? The US public doesn’t think so.
*British crime statistics are September to September, so 2011 is actually 2010-2011.
07/21/2012 at 2:36 am
The rate of private gun ownership per 100 people
United States 88.82
United Kingdom is 6.72
Mexico is 15.02
The annual rate of homicide by any means per 100,000 population
United States 4.96
United Kingdom 1.2
The annual rate of firearm homicide per 100,000 population
United States 2.98
United Kingdom 0.03
If homicide rates (and more specifically, firearm homicide rates) correlated with firearm ownership rates, then Mexico’s firearm homicide rate should only be about twice that of the UK’s, not 10 times higher. And Switzerland’s firearm homicide rate should significantly higher than it is, with their high rates of firearm ownership, and their overall homicide rate certainly shouldn’t be lower than the UK’s.
When you compare a wider selection of countries–rather than just the US and the UK–you find that there is very little correlation between firearm ownership and homicide rates. The numbers are all over the place. It’s almost as if crime and homicide rates have far more complex causes than simply firearm availability …
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.