We stand corrected—we didn’t think this would happen.
Yesterday, while addressing a National Urban League Conference in New Orleans, President Obama took a substantial political risk: he said he would work to reduce gun violence in the United States.
"I’m going to continue to work with members of both parties and with religious groups and with civic organisations to arrive at a consensus around violence reduction," the president said.
Obama further noted that "every day and a half the number of young people we lose to violence is about the same as the number of people we lost in that movie theater." Reducing this carnage should be a matter of common sense, not controversy, he added.
But in a political climate where the National Rifle Association holds absolute sway, and polls show support for gun control has been dropping, the president’s remarks are bound to be controversial. Already Romney has been quoted as saying we don’t need more gun control laws.
President Obama was careful to show deference to the Second Amendment, and to "the traditions of gun ownership that passed on from generation to generation." He didn’t propose any specific legislation, such as a renewed ban on assault weapons. Still, he displayed significant political courage in this election year and we commend him for that.