With the election season coming in the fall it seems strange that neither President Barack Obama nor Republican challenger Mitt Romney have spoken about gun control in their campaigns for the White House. They have showed little sign of changing course either, even after one of the deadliest shootings in recent U.S. history. “There are more downside risks than upside gains in talking about it,” said University of Maryland professor Don Kettl.
At least 12 people were killed and 59 were injured when a gunman in a gas mask opened fire 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.
Obama, Romney Swap Politics For Healing
At a speaking event yesterday in Fort Myers, Florida, Obama remained silent on gun control as he called for a moment of silence for the victims. The president cleared his schedule and returned to Washington where he ordered U.S. flags flown at half- staff at all federal facilities. Romney, who as Massachusetts governor in 2004 wasn’t always shy about the issue, once signed legislation banning assault-style weapons, he too made no mention of the gun issue in a speech in Bow, New Hampshire, calling the killings a “hateful act.”
“There are going to be other days for politics,” Obama said from one key electoral state, Florida. From another one, New Hampshire, Romney said much the same. “This is a time for each of us to look into our hearts and remember how much we love one another, and how much we love and how much we care for our great country,” Romney said at a podium stripped of campaign paraphernalia, in front of a large American flag.
Bloomberg Pushes For A Statement
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a known advocate for gun control, said, “You know, 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.”
Just two decades ago, polling showed a substantial majority of Americans – nearly 80 percent in 1990 – supported strict gun control laws. Now, as with other things, Americans are evenly divided between those who want tougher restrictions and those that don’t. It is times like these that the American people need someone who is not afraid to stand up and say what they believe, politics be dammed.
Rights Have Costs
Gun rights groups like the NRA are a powerful influence in the United States, where easy access to guns is a way of life in many areas. The right to bear arms is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, alongside such basic rights as free speech and freedom of religion. At what cost are these basic rights being upheld?
“Just over 3,000 children are killed and 17,500 are injured by guns every year in the US,” according to the blog site ‘Kid shootings‘, run by members of Ceasefire Oregon Education Foundation, Protect Minnesota and States United to Prevent Gun Violence. “Can we save even one life of a child with stricter gun control? If the answer is yes, then maybe it is time to consider it.”
Even with 12 dead and 58 wounded in Colorado, it’s unlikely the horrible act will spur more national gun control – or even a reinstatement of the ban on assault rifles that lapsed eight years ago.
Politicians are preoccupied with other things
Despite periodic mass shootings – five slain in May in Seattle, 13 dead on an Army base in Texas in 2009, and the deadliest U.S. mass shooting ever at Virginia Tech in 2007 with 32 slain – the political landscape seems locked down. The one clear thing is that most Republicans adamantly refuse to consider tighter gun controls, and most Democrats seem interested in other issues. In the words of Henry Ford, “Don’t find fault, find a remedy.”