The State of the Union speech was preceded by desperate cries for President Obama to bring up Gun Control. New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s group Mayors Against Illegal Guns (where “illegal” = “all”) ran a full page ad in the Washington Post. MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell said he would be “disappointed” if Obama did not mention gun control. And the Brady Campaign called for it as well. And over the course of his very long speech Mr. Obama responded with … nothing. So if Mr. Obama, who has signed the most pro gun legislation to pass congress ever continues in this manner, signing new pro-gun bills from congress and making no effort to push gun control, will he have made up for past sins and get a high NRA rating? Will get get NRA support as an incumbent? Will I feel as though I have to vote for him, as my NRA contributions go to his campaign?
Well … that’s admittedly pretty doubtful. And MSNBC’s Chris Mathews made an insider’s guarantee that Mr. Obama will be making a special speech on gun control, though I’ve got a $10 bet that unless the country truly appears ready to accept such a move that speech will never happen. Mr. Obama is very liberal, and has a history of being anti-gun, but I don’t think gun control is high enough on his agenda to fight a losing battle for it. Not as he did for cap and trade and non-secret union ballots, etc.
UPDATE: Now the white house is being more direct about stating they will address gun control in the future, but didn’t exactly pin themselves down (in fact, not at all … and my bet above stands):
“I wouldn’t rule out that at some point the president talks about the issues surrounding gun violence,” Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said aboard Air Force One on the way to an event with Obama in Wisconsin. “I don’t have a timetable or, obviously, what he would say.”
But actually … I’d honestly like to thank Mr. Obama for keeping his eye on what is important. What the American people have proclaimed as important — getting Government spending under control, putting people back to work, and keeping America in a place of prominence in the world and not just another debtor nation with a falling standard of living.
Gun control matters to a vociferous minority of people, all of whom are in Obama’s “base,” but the bottom line is the laws being considered now would do nothing to keep another assassination attempt from happening. Any more than the NFA passed in 1934 avoided the assassination of President Kennedy, or the Gun Control Act of 1968 avoided the attack on President Reagan, or the AWB passed in 1994 stopped the Columbine assault (which occurred right in the middle of it in 1999 with some of the “high capacity” magazines we’re being told were outlawed at the time).
Attempts at gun control haven’t done anything to make people safer, as we’ve seen murder rates plummet back to the level we had in 1968 without any new gun control and with as lot of new pro-gun laws (CCW, carry in national parks, etc.). And passing gun control won’t create a single job (it would actually end some), or increase our exports, or solve our energy problems.
Whatever Mr. Obama does or doesn’t do in future speeches, the SOTU is THE address where the President sets his agenda for the next year. And gun control wasn’t part of it. And while I didn’t agree with everything he said, I am grateful that he at least kept focused on the things that really matter, and that the American people have made it clear they care about.
Because that’s where we all need to keep the debate. Not whether making sure that a 32 round magazine (aka clip) costs a few dollars more, or that the next Jared Loughner has to carry two guns instead of one.
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