A day after Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney proclaimed that he doesn’t think America needs new gun laws in an interview with NBC's Brian Williams, the White House and President Barack Obama have followed suit.
Romney told NBC News while in London:
"I don't happen to believe that America needs new gun laws...A lot of what this young man did was clearly against the law. But the fact that it was against the law did not prevent it from happening."
Today, according to the Associated Press, Obama and the White House said that they will not push for stricter gun laws this election year, which is weird considering that this announcement comes one day after Obama’s impassioned remarks about the need to keep assault weapons off the streets.
Obama’s speech to the National Urban League suggested he may plunge into that political fight and challenge Congress to act on stricter gun laws, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
As reported by the Associated Press:
Obama still wants Congress to reinstitute a federal ban on military-style assault weapons that lapsed years ago, his spokesman Jay Carney said. But the president is not and has not been pushing for that ban, a nod to the politics of gun control.
There is no interest among many lawmakers of both parties to take on the divisive matter. Especially not with an election in just over 100 days.
Sealing the matter, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday the Senate's schedule is too packed to even have a debate on gun control.
Asked if the Senate might debate the issue next year, Reid said, "Nice try."
Public opinion has shifted away from tighter gun control. Twenty years ago, polls showed that a substantial majority supported stricter limits on guns. Now Americans appear evenly divided. Nearly every statement on the matter from Romney and Obama includes reminders that they stand by the Second Amendment.
As for the White House, Press Secretary Jay Carney said:
"There are things that we can do short of legislation and short of gun laws."
According to William Vizzard, professor emeritus of criminal justice at California State University, Sacramento, and an author on gun control politics:
“Obama and his team gain nothing politically, and they just don't have the horsepower to pass anything. And then the problem is trying to craft a law that would really do something."
Is Obama flip-flopping on the gun issue, or is he approaching it at a different angle? It was only yesterday he said:
"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."
Hopefully if Obama gets a second term he’ll find a way to keep AKs out of the hands of criminals.