In an recent opinion piece in Representative Gabrielle Gifford’s’ home town paper, The Arizona Star, the President penned his much awaited statement on gun control. They might as well have saved the ink.
Speaking on the subject for only the second time during his Presidency, the President shied away from voicing any specific opinions on this controversial issue. He proposed strengthening and enforcing the existing laws. But he did not mention the ban on assault weapons that expired in 2004 or the proposed ban on high capacity ammunition magazines that would have outlawed the magazine used by Gifford’s assailant in the Tucson shooting.
The President seems to have lost his voice on the subject of gun control. During his 2004 Senate campaign he said: “I think it is a scandal that this president (George W. Bush) did not force a renewal of this assault weapons ban.” Many had hoped that the president would address the issue during his speech at the Tucson memorial service. But the White house said to do so at such an emotional event would be too polarizing; and they promised that the president would make an important statement on the subject “in the near future.” We are still waiting.
The President is preparing to run for a second term. We acknowledge that proposing a reinstatement of the assault weapons ban would anger many of the independents that Obama needs for re-election. After all getting elected is job one for any politician. But favoring a ban on extended ammunition magazines is a position favored by all but the most radical right wing Americans. Even devoted gun advocate Dick Cheney said in a recent interview that a ban on extended magazines “is something that we could consider.”
The President has failed to demonstrate the courage to lead on this issue. If his recent opinion piece is any indication of his views on the subject; then apparently he has no opinion.