July 25, 2012
Political Campaign Seasons, PR and Gun Control: As Lawmakers Debate Hot-Button Issue — With Equal Fervor On Both Sides — It Seems Clear That Candidates Aren't Likely To Make Gun Control Part Of Their Platforms
The national debate over gun control has taken on new force after the Aurora shootings, but there are few signs that the issue will emerge as a major campaign theme. On weekend news talk shows, Democrat and Republican lawmakers clashed on the issue, while state and local leaders and police commissioners pondered whether stricter control of firearms could have prevented someone like the Colorado gunman from carrying out his movie-theater assault. Asked on ABC's "This Week" whether the incident should prompt a renewed look at Colorado's gun laws, which are considered relatively lax, the state's governor, John Hickenlooper, responded: "This wasn't a Colorado problem, this was a human problem ... and how we can have such a warped individual and no one around be aware. Even if he didn't have access to guns, this guy was diabolical, right?" he said, his face creased with a mixture of pain and puzzlement. "He would have found explosives. He would have found something else, some sort of poisonous gas. He would have done something [else] to create this horror," he added, the LA Times reports. Even so, U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), whose husband was killed by a deranged gunman in 1993, said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that such individuals also have one thing in common: "They all had a gun with large magazines." McCarthy added that, "as horrible as this tragedy was and is, you have to remember how many people are killed every single day." Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a longtime advocate of stricter gun restrictions, on Sunday repeated her call for a renewed examination of the nation's firearms laws. "I believe people use these weapons because they can get them," she said on Fox News Sunday, the Times article reports. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) took an opposing view, arguing that had someone else in the Aurora theater been carrying a weapon, "maybe, maybe they could have prevented some of those deaths, some of those injuries, and that's just the truth," he said, the Times article reports.
President Obama so far hasn't talked about gun control in the wake of the Colorado shooting, but he faces pressure to address the issue. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg over the weekend heightened his earlier criticisms of Obama for spending "the last three years trying to avoid the issue" of gun control. The president, who said he would provide new parameters for gun safety two months after the 2011 Tucson, Ariz., shooting spree, has yet to mention gun rights in the wake of the Colorado shooting, the LA Times reported early this week.
As for Mitt Romney, whose own history as a gun control maverick put him at odds with his own party, he has little reason to stir the pot on gun rights. "We don't need more laws, we need a couple of fixes," Bloomberg said on "Face the Nation," a sentiment a majority of Americans appear to agree with, with a late 2011 poll showing 60% think that current gun control laws should be enforced more strictly, with just 35% in favor of new legislation, reports the Times article by Don Lee and Morgan Little.