In his 2008 campaign and while president, Obama has distanced himself from gun issues, aware that it could hurt him politically in key battleground states. But when pressed about gun violence during the Tuesday town hall-style presidential debate, he fully embraced a Clinton-style assault weapons ban. Clinton's ban expired in 2004.
Suggesting a ban not just on semi-automatic weapons like the AR-15 but maybe even handguns, the most popular rifle in America, the president said, "What I'm trying to do is to get a broader conversation about how do we reduce the violence generally. Part of it is seeing if we can get an assault weapons ban reintroduced. But part of it is also looking at other sources of the violence. Because frankly, in my hometown of Chicago, there's an awful lot of violence and they're not using AK-47s. They're using cheap handguns."
That got the National Rifle Association's attention:
The National Rifle Association, jumping on President Obama's new and firm support for a Clinton-style assault weapons ban, is stepping up its attack on the president in Ohio, Virginia, Florida and Wisconsin with a new "we told you so" theme.I think that was a big mistake on Obama's part. If Ohio and Wisconsin both go Romney's way, the Obama presidency will be over in January. The NRA is awfully good at reaching gun owners and there are a lot of them in both Ohio and Wisconsin. And gun owners and those who support the 2nd Amendment are always likely voters.
David Keene, president of the NRA, told Secrets, "the president has ratified what we have been saying" in ads and mailings to pro-gun voters. "See, he peeked out and finally said what he wants," said Keene.