Friday, April 20, 2007

Obama's Small Step toward Better Gun Control

This is starting to be noticed in blogs, but it merits a lot more media attention than it’s gotten so far. Barack Obama says the circumstances of the Virginia Tech massacre warrant some common sense changes in gun laws. So far that makes him the only presidential candidate courageous enough to challenge the NRA’s lock on the national political process. It’s a small challenge, but braver than any other candidate has ventured. And the NRA has ended other political careers over less.

This AP article is posted at

Obama: Gun Law Changes Needed For Mentally Ill
POSTED: 5:08 pm CDT April 19, 2007
UPDATED: 5:22 pm CDT April 19, 2007

Illinois Democrat and presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama wants stronger laws to prevent the mentally ill from buying guns.

The student who killed 32 people at Virginia Tech, Cho Seung-Hui, had a history of mental health problems but still was able to buy the two guns used in the rampage.

In an interview with the syndicated radio program "The Steve Harvey Morning Show," Obama said gun laws have to change to prevent the type of killings seen this week at Virginia Tech and on a daily basis in urban areas. The senator said "some common-sense" changes are needed.

Obama also said he wants mental health services improved to identify people with serious problems who aren't getting treatment.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

By the way, I agree with Charles Krauthammer’s observation today that it was tasteless and not very helpful for Obama, in an earlier impromptu speech just hours after the massacre, to remark that Cho’s violence took place in the context of other kinds of “violence” our society allows, including the “violence” of Don Imus toward the Rutger’s women’s basketball team, the “violence” of outsourcing American jobs to other countries, and the “violence” that an ineffective American foreign policy has allowed to continue against the children of Darfur. Rhetoric about these topics is appropriate for the political campaign, but connecting them with the gun violence at Virginia Tech will take a very long national discussion, and this is not the time to begin it.

However, the circumstances of the Virginia Tech shootings cry out for more effective gun controls. Obama is right to say so and to challenge those who are in denial about that--especially those who think that the solution to too many guns is many more guns.

Krauthammer is at

No comments: