Obama: I am coming after the guns and I will screen gun owners
Crowley cuts off Romney’s Fast and Furious remarks at Obama’s behest
In the Oct. 16 presidential debate between President Barack Obama and GOP challenger W. Mitt Romney, when the president dropped the pretense of being neutral on restricting gun rights with a key assist from moderator Candy Crowley, hostess of the CNN program “State of the Nation.”
After his policies were rebuked in the 1994 midterms, President William J. Clinton, blamed more than anything else his support for a national ban on so-called assault weapons. It must have been a calculated move for Obama to suggest he would bring back the ban that had expired.
The questioner asked the president what he had done to fulfill his 2008 promise to keep AK-47’s and so-called assault weapons out of the hands of criminals.
Americans support the Second Amendment, he said. Then, those concerned about gun rights waited for the “but.”
They did not have to wait long.
“But there have been too many instances during the course of my presidency, where I’ve had to comfort families who have lost somebody,” he said.
“We have to enforce the laws we’ve already got, make sure that we’re keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, those who are mentally ill,” he said.
“We’ve done a much better job in terms of background checks, but we’ve got more to do when it comes to enforcement,” he said. “What I’m trying to do is to get a broader conversation about how do we reduce the violence generally. Part of it is seeing if we can get an assault weapons ban reintroduced.”
Obama said it made sense to him that weapons designed for soldiers should not be in the hands of civilians.
Perhaps sensing the a coming retort, the president acknowledged his own city of Chicago, a city with some of the strictest gun laws in the country, is rife with gun violence. “Frankly, in my home town of Chicago, there’s an awful lot of violence and they’re not using AK-47s. They’re using cheap hand guns.”
Message: We are coming after the hand guns, too.
The president and his campaign have been quick to point out that in the last four years, the administration has not proposed new restrictions on gun rights. In the Oct. 16 debate, Obama crossed that line with not only a call for responsible gun ownership, but also with his support for screening Americans for their mental capacity to exercise their guns rights.
Like trying to get off the No-Fly List, Americans who find themselves on the No-Gun List, like veterans, who seek counseling, have no process to appeal or otherwise adjudicate their status–a status bestowed upon them with the stroke of a bureaucrat’s pen and often without notice.
For his part, Romney got caught up in the law he signed in Massachusetts that banned so-called “assault weapons.” It is a position that Romney took with the cooperation of the National Rifle Association because it loosened other gun restrictions.
The former Bay State governor scored some serious points with he brought up the Fast and Furious scandal, unfortunately, the rogue moderator stepped in again to interrupt Romney and break up his rhetorical momentum.
“The – the greatest failure we’ve had with regards to – to gun violence in some respects is what – what is known as Fast and Furious. Which was a program under this administration, and how it worked exactly I think we don’t know precisely, where thousands of automatic, and AK-47 type weapons were – were given to people that ultimately gave them to – to drug lords,” Romney said.
“They used those weapons against – against their own citizens and killed Americans with them. And this was a – this was a program of the government,” he said. “I’d like to understand who it was that did this, what the idea was behind it, why it led to the violence, thousands of guns going to Mexican drug lords.”
The president used one of his lifelines: “Candy?”
The immoderate moderator interceded: “Governor, Governor, if I could, the question was about these assault weapons that once were once banned and are no longer banned.” There could be no discussion of the Justice Department program that sent thousands of military-style long guns to Mexican crime organizations. Because? Because, no reason, because–and that was that.