"In his broadest remarks on gun control yet in the aftermath of the mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater, President Barack Obama called late Wednesday for tougher background checks designed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.
"A lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals -- that they belong on the battlefield of war, not on the streets of our cities," the president, who has called for reimposing the Assault Weapons Ban, said in a speech to the National Urban League.
"I believe the majority of gun owners would agree that we should do everything possible to prevent criminals and fugitives from purchasing weapons; that we should check someones criminal record before they can check out a gun seller; that a mentally unbalanced individual should not be able to get his hands on a gun so easily," he said. "These steps shouldn't be controversial. They should be common sense."
Certainly should be common sense. Yet the NRA has inordinate political clout. After all, it was their own crazy conspiracy theories that lead to the shameful contempt vote against Attorney General Eric Holder.
It's not common sense to Mitt Romney however, as if anything ever is:
"Earlier yesterday, Romney said he didn’t believe the U.S. needed new gun laws."
“We can sometimes hope that just changing a law will make all bad things go away. It won’t,” Romney told NBC News inLondon, where he is beginning a trip that also will take him to Israel and Poland. “Changing the heart of the American people may well be what’s essential to improve the lots of the American people.”
Splendid. Who exactly said it would make all bad things go away? Nobody said that and of course it won't. Look, now law makes all bad things go away. Still we have laws and law enforcement. In the 90s Mayor Rudolph Giuliani achieved monumental decreases in the NYC crime rate. However, despite the success-today our NY is much safer than it was prior to Giuliani-all bad things have still not gone away.
By this logic, the Mayor shouldn't have even tried to improve things, as at the end of it no matter how much he achieved he still would have failed if his goal was to "make all bad things go away."
Luckily that wasn't his aim, and that's not ours here either. Gun control is still felt to be a difficult political issue. Why this is, I don't know. A big part of it is that President Clinton in his memoirs blames the 1994 loss of Congress to passing tough laws against owning assault weapons.
Actually it's the expiration of that ban that enabled James Holmes to legally obtain the very assault weapon he used to shoot 71 people. I'm skeptical that this is such a political loser at least with the voters.
However, there is no doubt the risk of NRA donor dollars. Polls indicate that most Americans, including most gun owners and even most NRA members support such commonsense laws.
"On a lighter note, Obama warned American school kids that they have to "hit the books" if they want to compete with their peers in rising economic powers -- and avoid temptations like TV's "Real Housewives."
"You're competing against young people in Beijing and Bangalore. They're not hanging out. They're not getting over. They're not playing video games. They're not watching 'Real Housewives.' I'm just saying: It's a two-way street. You've got to earn success," he said.
"That wasn't in my prepared remarks," he said, to laughter from the crowd. "But I'm just saying."
See, that almost ticks me off a little. That's the typical GOP canard of "individual responsibility." Don't get me wrong, the President is obviously right to encourage young people to strive to learn and achieve. But I feel like it's not really a two-way street as we as a society aren't holding up our end. How can we demand that young Americans hold up theirs?
We tell them to go to college and when they get a degree and come out they can't find decent full time jobs while they end up owing the student lenders six figures that we guarantee them. All a college education seems to guarantee young people today is a life time of having their wages garnished even if they can find decent work.
I just wish we held up our end. To that end, the President did announce plans to give the option of bankruptcy at least to those with private school loans, which is a first step though we also need that for government loans.