Obama spoke out about gun control for the first time since the Aurora shootings at a National Urban League convention on Wednesday night, and it seems like he's going to lobby for the ban on assault weapons to return.
The talk surrounding gun control has been pretty stale since the Aurora shooting. There were questions as to whether the tragedy would bring about any real change, or if it would yield more talk and no action. On just about every Sunday talk show, gun control dominated the conversation. Colorado Rep. Ed Perlmutter and Senator Dianne Feinstein brought up the idea of reinstating the ban on assault weapons that was in place from 1994 to 2004. It seems like Obama's a fan of the idea, too.
The most important quote from Obama's speech on Wednesday night is this one, where he says guns like AK-47s belong with soldiers, not with criminals:
“I, like most Americans, believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual the right to bear arms,” Obama said. “But I also believe that a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals — that they belong on the battlefields of war and not on the streets of our cities.”
Obama was careful to talk about making an effort to reduce violence in general in other parts of his speech instead of committing to stricter gun control laws, but this is the first hint we have of where the President plans to take this issue over the next several months. He doesn't say specifically that he wants to reinstate the ban, but it sure sounds like it, right?
He also implied he might raise restrictions on the criteria for purchasing a gun to make it harder on the mentally ill and convicted criminals. "I believe the majority of gun owners agree we should do everything possible to prevent criminals and fugitives from purchasing weapons," Obama said. "That we should check out a person’s criminal record before they can check out at a gun store. That a mentally unbalanced individual should not be able to get his hands on a gun so easily."