Two time zones might as well have been two light years for President Barack Obama Monday when he flew to Minneapolis to sell a gun control package that Seattle Times readers are in no more hurry to buy than gun owners in Minnesota.
Many are wondering why he picked the Twin Cities area to begin his campaign against firearms when his adopted hometown of Chicago has a murder epidemic that even the toughest anti-gun measures – which he supports – have not been able to stop.
Telling his audience or police and Minneapolis officials that “We don’t have to agree on everything to agree it is time to do something,” the president is sticking to his guns on banning so-called “assault weapons” and limiting magazine capacity to ten rounds. It is the same “something” that has been on the gun prohibition lobby’s wish list for many years, and is now being offered again in an attempt to capitalize on the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy in December.
This comes in the wake of the weekend’s release of a photo showing the president, with what some veteran shooters suggest is not the best form while apparently shooting skeet at Camp David last year. If Obama is trying to suddenly pander himself as a “gun guy,” it shows just how desperate he is in an effort to broaden his appeal.
Reports from various news agencies now suggest that the president’s hope to renew and make permanent a ban on semi-automatic rifles – reportedly used in less murders in 2011 than hammers or knives, according to FBI data – is losing traction on Capitol Hill. This column earlier noted U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan’s weekend plea for a ban on semi-autos in the Seattle Times.
Gun shops in Bellevue have been doing a proverbial land office business in guns, apparently including Seattle residents who have driven across Lake Washington.
The president also wants universal background checks, an idea that is meeting some resistance because it would only affect law-abiding citizens while criminals would continue avoiding such checks. This column discussed the apparent disconnect that some members of Congress, including anti-gun Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), have about the issue.
Perhaps the growing public resistance to gun control is related to the new Pew survey results, discussed by this column over the weekend that shows a majority of Americans consider the federal government a threat to their rights.