WASHINGTON (AP) — The politics of guns leapt to the top of the presidential race Wednesday, as President Barack Obama embraced some degree of control of weapons sales and Republican Mitt Romney seemed to suggest an alleged mass killer in Colorado had obtained his weapons illegally even though he hadn’t.
Speaking to a mostly black audience in New Orleans, Obama said he would seek a consensus on combating violence. He said some responsibility also rests with parents, neighbors and teachers to ensure that young people “do not have that void inside them.”
Obama’s remarks came five days after the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., that left 12 dead and dozens wounded. He pledged to work with lawmakers of both parties to stop violence — not only the sudden massacres that have bedeviled the nation, but also the steady drip of urban crime that has cost many young lives.
The president called for stepped-up background checks for people who want to buy guns and restrictions to keep mentally unbalanced individuals from buying weapons. He said those steps “shouldn’t be controversial, they should be common sense.”
Romney, meanwhile, said many of the weapons deployed by the shooting suspect in Colorado were possessed illegally and that changing laws wouldn’t prevent gun-related tragedies. His comments added a confusing layer to the debate because authorities say the firearms that James Holmes allegedly used to kill 12 people were obtained legally.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons)