Ready, Aim, Fire. Obama and Romney Talk Gun Control

The presidential candidates finally speak out on the deadly Colorado shootings.

obama romney gun control election year aurora gun violence batman massacre

A cross is seen at a memorial for victims behind the theater where a gunman opened fire last Friday on moviegoers in Aurora, Colorado. (Photo: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

A former Gourmet staffer, Lawrence enjoys writing about design, food, travel, and lots of other stuff.

In the wake of the Colorado movie theater shooting, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has been talking to every media outlet imaginable lately and has renewed his call for stricter gun controls.

And it appears that President Obama and Mitt Romney are starting to listen—although, as you might expect, their reactions differ. The Los Angeles Times reports that Obama, vowed “to leave no stone unturned in seeking to curb violence in American cities, including reasonable restrictions on gun ownership—a sharp break from the position set out earlier in the day by his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney.”

Acknowledging sensitivity of the issue, he said . . . he believed that even gun owners would agree “that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of children.”

MORE: Good Morning Shooters—Now Wake Up to Gun Violence Reality

Perhaps these statements are a partial reaction to Bloomberg’s comments to NY1 on Monday. The New York mayor said, “Barack Obama campaigned four years ago on a platform of saying he was going to try to ban the sale of assault weapons. He’s done nothing since then.”

Bloomberg wasn’t much kinder to Mitt Romney, saying, “Governor Romney signed a bill in Massachusetts prohibiting the sale of assault weapons. And he spoke eloquently about it. Today, he’s not in favor of it.”

What is Romney in favor of?

According to The New York Times, the presumed Republican candidate for president’s website states, “the country has all the laws it needs and that it should focus on enforcing them to punish those who use firearms to commit crimes.”

And in an interview yesterday with NBC News, Romney told Brian Williams, “Well, this person shouldn’t have had any kind of weapons and bombs and other devices, and it was illegal for him to have many of those things already, but he had them. And so we can sometimes hope that just changing the law will make all bad things go away. It won’t. Changing the heart of the American people may well be what’s essential, to improve the lots of the American people.”

Romney often seems to be speaking in riddles. Contrary to the former governor’s version of events, all the guns James Holmes used were purchased legally. The Times helped translate Romney’s comments noting, “A spokesman for Mr. Romney, Ryan Williams, said he was referring specifically to what the police identified as homemade incendiary devices in the suspect’s apartment, which are illegal in Colorado, not to firearms.”

Meanwhile, in the wake of the violence in Colorado, The Guardian reports that the pressure on Obama and Romney is coming from other sources as well.

“Survivors and relatives of victims of the Tucson shooting tragedy, when six people died after a gunman opened fire at a public meeting held by local Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, have demanded action on gun control from the two presidential candidates in the wake of the latest mass shooting in Aurora.”

“Twelve survivors and relatives of victims from the 2011 Tuscon shooting have joined forces with New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and his coalition Mayors Against Illegal Guns . . . The sponsors of the new campaign include Colonel Bill Badger, a retired US army officer who was shot in the head at Tucson but still managed to tackle the shooter . . . Badger has owned guns since the days when he went hunting jack rabbits as a child in South Dakota, and is a supporter of the National Rifle Association that opposes gun controls. But he said that in the wake of his own trauma at Tucson and now with Aurora he wanted to see the introduction of what he called “sensible gun controls.”

But here’s a frightening reality: Numerous media outlets have reported that background checks for people wanting to buy guns in Colorado jumped more than 41 percent after Friday morning’s shooting, and firearms instructors say they’re also seeing increased interest in the training required for a concealed-carry permit. The San Jose Mercury News quoted Jake Meyers, an employee at Rocky Mountain Guns and Ammo: “It’s been insane.”

Indeed it has.

Does the U.S. need stricter gun control laws? Do you stand with President Obama or Mitt Romney on this issue? Voice your reasons in COMMENTS.

Lawrence Karol is a freelance writer and editor who lives in New York City in a mid-century-modern-inspired apartment with his dog, Mike. He is a former Gourmet editor, who enjoys writing about design, food, and lots of other stuff. @WriteEditDream | Email Lawrence | TakePart.com

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