Depsite rumors to the contrary, President Obama isn't giving up on gun violence. In an event at the White House on Thursday morning, the President averred that he continued to toil under the memory of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012. "Shame on us if we've forgotten," Obama told audience at the White House. "I haven't forgotten those kids ... We need everybody to remember how we felt one hundred days ago and make sure that what we said at the time wasn't just a bunch of platitudes." The remarks came on a day of heighten gun policy talk on a national "day of action" for gun control, and Obama tried to address a bubbling conventional wisdom — best characterized by a recent Politico trend piece cited by the President during his remarks — that Washington policymakers like himself had moved on from hopes of enacting serious legislation to address gun violence.
To a significant degree, Obama has moved on from the most wide-reaching efforts that fell out of the Newtown, Connecticut shooting. Today's speech omitted any mention of a federal ban on assault weapons, or legislation limiting the capacity of magazines — the first of which was sought by California Senator Dianne Feinstein (before Harry Reid removed it from the Senate's gun bill), and the second of which Governor Andrew Cuomo enacted in New York State, even as it's faded from a package gaining traction in the Senate. In the same delivery, however, Obama renewed his administration's focus on mandating universal background checks for new gun owners, a proposal which enjoys wide bipartisan support among the electorate.
While highlighting Washington's failure to pass a meaningful gun bill, Obama also placed a good deal of blame on those who oppose controlling the sale of weapons in any way. Such groups are "doing everything they can to make all our progress collapse under the weight of fear and frustration, or their assumption is that people will just forget about it," said Obama, whose teenage daughters were featured in two scaremongering — and erroneous — anti-gun-control advertisements produced by the National Rifle Association. Though Obama didn't name any group or person, it's clear that the opposition's tactics have taken a toll — not just on the Democratic wish for robust gun legislation, but on the President himself:
Tears aren't enough. Expressions of sympathy aren't enough. Speeches aren't enough. We've cried enough. We've known enough heartbreak. What we're proposing is not radical, it's not taking away anybody's gun rights. It's something that if we are serious, we will do.
Watch the full speech below:
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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