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Obama, victims’ families overcome by gun owners



Published: Fri, April 19, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Nedra Pickler

Associated Press

WASHINGTON

Four months ago, President Barack Obama promised a grieving nation he would do everything in his power to change gun laws after 26 students and staff were shot to death at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Turns out his power and the impassioned pleas of devastated families were no match for the force of gun-rights advocates in Congress and across the nation.

The National Rifle Association and its energized supporters overcame national outrage over the deaths of innocent first-graders. The Senate rejected expanded background checks for gun buyers in the face of strong public support for the change, pleas from a former congresswoman still healing from bullet wounds and a campaign bankrolled by a billionaire mayor. Foes of new controls were stronger than Obama’s moral indignation from the president’s “bully pulpit” and his political machine that won two elections but couldn’t translate its grass-roots power to win the gun vote.

Obama, angry and defiant over the defeat, is vowing to fight on. And the NRA says it is taking him seriously. “We are prepared for a very long war and a very expensive war,” association spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said Thursday.

The NRA’s success is built on the passion of gun advocates, activists on both sides of the debate agree. That’s how they were able to defeat expanded background checks despite polling that shows up to 90 percent of Americans support the idea.

“You know what I hear from the members of Congress?” said Vice President Joe Biden. “I just met with one. He says, ‘Well, that may be true, Joe, but that 10 percent who doesn’t agree, they are going to show up. They’re going to show up and vote. And that 90 percent thinks it’s a good idea, but they’re not going to vote for me or against me because of how I vote on this,’” Biden said during a Google Plus online chat Wednesday.

Arulanandam said he refers to NRA members as “super volunteers” who work on political campaigns and get to know lawmakers personally so their voices are even more powerful in the debate. A Washington Post-ABC News poll taken last week shows they are more likely to speak up: 20 percent of gun owners and 14 percent of people who live with a gun owner said they contacted a public official on gun control, compared with 10 percent of adults with no gun in their home.

The changes at the heart of the gun-control bill failed to get the 60 votes needed in the Senate on Wednesday. On the background-checks issue, four Democrats voted against it. They all come from states Obama lost last year. Three of the four face tough re-election fights next year.

The background-check proposal was co-authored by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who won re-election after running an ad in which he fired a rifle and boasted of his NRA endorsement. At a breakfast sponsored by The Wall Street Journal, he predicted the legislation backed by Obama would have passed easily if the NRA hadn’t threatened to use senators’ votes to determine whom it would support in next year’s midterm elections.

Manchin also said background checks would have been approved if the Senate had moved more quickly, when the nation’s heartache over the Newtown, Conn., school shootings was still in focus. A recent Associated Press-GfK poll found that 49 percent of Americans back stricter gun laws, but that’s down from 58 percent in January.


Comments

1Photoman(1005 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Seeing our current President exploiting those grieving parents proved sickening to me. Most of our previous presidents had at least a modicum of class about them--this man lacks even that.

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2redeye1(4560 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Photoman This guy isn't a president . He's a user to the fullest extent , he will use whatever or whomever to win . He about as classy as a turdy. He has an agenda and he wants no one to stand in his way. Well Guess what OBAMMY the majority of people aren't as stupid as you think. Just look at the people of Boston where they have strict gun laws, the people are almost defenseless against the animal running their streets right now

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3diamondm35(42 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

I agree, it appears he will use "Any Means Necessary" as a means of persuasion. I don't like it.

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4dmacker(287 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

As I recall what the President said after the New Town tragedy was that he would put together a pannel from both the pro-gun and anti-gun sides to make recommendations as to how we can best control the criminal misuse of firearms.
That soon digressed into another ban the gun move where he paraded the poor emotionally distraught victims of gun violence before cameras and the american public where they tearfully recapped the tragedies. Taking advantage of these poor souls in an attempt to further this administrations anti-gun agenda is pathetic.
As a registered democrat I had hopped for so much more.
Until we address the problem of identifying the dangerously mentally ill and improve treatment and until we address the drug and gang issues in the cities we will make little progress in the criminal misuse of firearms.
Lets enforce the laws we already have to get the criminals in prison where they belong.

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5greene(167 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

A-Men! dmacker.

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6VINDYAK(1799 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Well said dmacker. I would rather see us man up and uphold the laws we already have than pass more laws we cannot defend.

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