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Obama Uses South Carolina Killings to Call for Gun Control Rethink

President Obama Thursday appeared at the White House to mourn the killing of nine African Americans in South Carolina in a apparently racially motivated mass murder, using the tragedy to call for Americans to change the way they think about guns.

“I have had to make statement like this too many times. Communities like this have had to endure tragedies like this too many times,” Obama said. “We don’t have all the facts. But we do know that once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun.”

Obama all but admitted that gun control measures were not likely to pass anytime soon, charging that “the politics in this town” probably prevents it. But he also appeared to acknowledge that the “politics” reflected thinking in the country, implicitly criticizing Americans for not attaining the same enlightened state on the issue as other “advanced” countries.

“Let’s be clear. At some point we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries,” Obama said. “It doesn’t happen in other places with this type of frequency. And it is in our power to do something about it . . . At some point, it’s going to be important for the American people to come to grips with it and for us to be able to shift how we think about gun violence collectively,” he said.

Obama addressed the racial aspect of the murders, noting the killing had occurred in an historic black church and has saying the killing “raises questions about a dark part of our history.”

But he also said there was an “outpouring of unity” across races in Charleston which “indicates the degree to which those old vestiges of hatred can be overcome.”

And with that, Obama jetted out to California for two days of fundraising.

Obama Expresses Frustration with U.S. “Society”

Uh oh. We’re getting beyond Republicans and Tea Partiers. Now President Obama is mad at U.S. society.

Not as in “high society.” As in all of us.

The president said today that the failure of America – not Congress, not Republicans, but America – to get behind gun control measures he supports “makes no sense,” and that United States is a kind of gun-loving misfit among “advanced, developed” societies.

The nation, he says, has some “soul searching” to do and should be “ashamed.”

From a question and answer session he held at the White House today via Tumblr.:

My biggest frustration so far is the fact that this society has not been willing to take some basic steps to keep guns out of the hands of people who can do just unbelievable damage.

We’re the only developed country on Earth where this happens.  And it happens now once a week.  And it’s a one-day story.  There’s no place else like this.  A couple of decades ago, Australia had a mass shooting similar to Columbine or Newtown.  And Australia just said, well, that’s it — we’re not seeing that again.  And basically imposed very severe, tough gun laws.  And they haven’t had a mass shooting since.

Our levels of gun violence are off the charts.  There’s no advanced, developed country on Earth that would put up with this.

Now, we have a different tradition.  We have a Second Amendment.  We have historically respected gun rights.  I respect gun rights.

But the idea that, for example, we couldn’t even get a background check bill in to make sure that if you’re going to buy a weapon you have to actually go through a fairly rigorous process so that we know who you are, so you can’t just walk up to a store and buy a semiautomatic weapon — it makes no sense.

And until that changes, until there is a fundamental shift in public opinion in which people say, enough, this is not acceptable, this is not normal, this isn’t sort of the price we should be paying for our freedom, that we can have respect for the Second Amendment and responsible gun owners and sportsmen and hunters can have the ability to possess weapons but that we are going to put some commonsense rules in place that make a dent, at least, in what’s happening — until that is not just the majority of you — because that’s already the majority of you, even the majority of gun owners believe that.

But until that’s a view that people feel passionately about and are willing to go after folks who don’t vote reflecting those values, until that happens, sadly, not that much is going to change.

So the country has to do some soul searching about this.  This is becoming the norm, and we take it for granted in ways that, as a parent, are terrifying to me.

And I am prepared to work with anybody, including responsible sportsmen and gun owners, to craft some solutions.  But right now, it’s not even possible to get even the mildest restrictions through Congress, and we should be ashamed of that.

So please search your souls and get back to him.

Obama to Americans: You Need to Care More

President Obama Sunday suggested Americans may not care enough about gun violence, indicating that insufficient outrage about killings with firearms is behind the failure to pass his gun control agenda.

Second Amendment advocates believe they care as much about Obama about the killing of innocents but that other measures, including arming for self defense – particularly in “gun-free” zones – keeping guns away from dangerous people, treatment of mentally ill individuals such as the Navy Yard shooter, and other changes are in order instead of new government restrictions on a Constitutional right.

Speaking at a memorial in Washington Sunday for the victims of the Navy Yard shootings, Obama said Americans may need to simply care more to do things that are “politically uncomfortable” and make the country safer.

Do we care enough to keep standing up for the country that we know is possible, even if it’s hard, and even if it’s politically uncomfortable? Do we care enough to sustain the passion and the pressure to make our communities safer and our country safer? Do we care enough to do everything we can to spare other families the pain that is felt here today?

Our tears are not enough. Our words and our prayers are not enough. If we really want to honor these 12 men and women, if we really want to be a country where we can go to work, and go to school, and walk our streets free from senseless violence, without so many lives being stolen by a bullet from a gun, then we’re going to have to change. We’re going to have to change.

In addition to lacking the proper compassion, Americans need to accrue more wisdom, Obama said:

Wisdom comes through the recognition that tragedies such as this are not inevitable, and that we possess the ability to act and to change, and to spare others the pain that drops upon our hearts. So in our grief, let us seek that grace. Let us find that wisdom.

Obama said the country was beginning to accept mass shootings as “the new normal.” And yet the president himself barely interrupted his public day even as the massacres unfolded, mentioning them only briefly before unfurling a previously planned partisan attack on Republicans.

Man Arrested for Taking Biden’s Gun Advice

A man in Vancouver, Washington has been arrested for taking the advice of Vice President Joe Biden and blasting away with his gun at his home to scare off intruders.

“I did what Joe Biden told me to do,” Jeffrey Barton, 52, told a local TV station. “I went outside and fired my shotgun in the air.” Barton pleaded not guilty Wednesday to one count of of illegal aiming or discharging a firearm.

In February, Biden, who is leading White House efforts to curtail people’s access to multiple-round weapons, suggested all anyone needed to do to combat a home invasion was buy a double barrel shotgun and fire it off the balcony, something he said he had advised his wife Jill to do.

“I said, ‘Jill, if there’s ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony here, walk out and put that double-barrel shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house,’” Biden said during an appearance on Facebook. “You don’t need an AR-15 – it’s harder to aim, it’s harder to use, and in fact you don’t need 30 rounds to protect yourself,” Biden continued. “Buy a shotgun! Buy a shotgun!”

Biden’s epiphany, however, is a felony in some states. It’s not clear that the vice president ever rescinded the advice, though.

Sheriff’s deputies told the TV station that guns could only be fired in self defense in a life-threatening situation. Barton said he was trying to chase away people he thought were breaking into his vehicles.

Here’s the advice he was taking:

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Newtown Families Back in Town; Meeting With Obama, Biden

President Obama and Vice President Biden will keep the gun issue simmering with a meeting today with the families of  victims of the Newtown massacre.

Friday is the six-month anniversary of the shootings, and the families are in Washington seeking to relaunch efforts to pass gun control legislation.

Biden has made reviving the legislation his pet project, a possible play to Democratic presidential primary voters who may view him as leading on the issue while Hillary Clinton does speaking engagements. Obama has been less vocal about a second round of gun control, but this time he’s joining in.

Obama and Biden will tell the families that “we will never forget and we will continue to fight alongside them,” according to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

White House Uses Guns to Take Aim at GOP

Sorry, I realize that headline’s a little provocative. But that’s what’s going on here.

The gun issue, though probably over for now, is just beginning.

What do I mean? There’s not likely going to be any gun control legislation passed this year, and probably not next either. Expanded background checks fell six votes short in the Senate, and it’s a dead letter in the House. The “assault weapons” ban is ten votes short in the Senate.

Obama Biden gunsBut President Obama has declared this just “round one” in the gun control debate, and Vice President Biden has already begun a second effort to get legislation passed. It will intensify after the immigration debate has concluded.

That is, the White House has decided that while the chances of a successful new bill are small, the chances a new gun control campaign will work for Obama politically are good. So the White House will seize the issue to raise money and bash Republicans for the next year and a half in the hopes of winning back the House and trying to pick off GOP seats in the Senate. For example, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, who is up in 2016.

Get ready for lots more scenes in the Rose Garden of grieving mothers and concerned children who won a collage-making contest or something, all demanding that we “do something” about the plague of gun violence.

Biden in particular will use this to build his credibility with the Democratic base while Hillary runs around the country making speeches for money.

While it will help Biden, Politico notes today that it could hurt Democrats who are being targeted by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s outfit, Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Bloombergs ads and local grassroots pressure may prompt destructive primary challenges against Democratic Sens. Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Mark Begich of Alaska, both of whom are up for reelection in 2014.

And once again, instead of leading and trying to move forward legislation that is good for our country and that might pass, the White House will be comfortably and happily in the only mode it really knows – campaign mode.

The Virtual State of the Union

Wait a second, that’s not Obama!

Whittle is a great and persuasive speaker. I think he said something once about people telling him he should run for president, but he acknowledges he lacks the proper temperament.

Of course, that hasn’t stopped plenty people who run, and some who win.

The President’s Gun Tirade and You

President Obama’s lecturing little temper tantrum at the White House Wednesday should cause you some alarm. What are we to think when the most powerful man in the country spits venom all over the Rose Garden, accusing opponents he lost to in a fair fight on Capitol Hill of lying, craven capitulation to political imperatives,… Continue Reading

Senate Hands Obama Striking Gun Bill Defeat

From Politico: The Senate has rejected a bipartisan proposal to expand background checks on gun sales, handing President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders a major defeat on one of the key pieces of the president’s second-term agenda. The vote was 54-46, with only four Republicans crossing the aisle and voting with the Democrats in favor… Continue Reading