President Obama denounced the idea that gun control advocates have lost their opportunity to pass new legislation in the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in December.
“Shame on us if we’ve forgotten,” Obama said during a speech at the White House. “I haven’t forgotten those kids. Shame on us if we’ve forgotten . . . We need everybody to remember how we felt 100 days ago and make sure that what we said at that time wasn’t just a bunch of platitudes — that we meant it.”
One thing to note: Obama put his rhetorical power behind arguing for background checks, rather than the ban on assault weapons so desired by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who drafted the gun bill only to see Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., take that provision out of the overall package.
“What we’re proposing is not radical,” Obama said. “It’s not taking away anybody’s gun rights. It’s something that if we are serious, we will do.”
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, one of three senators setting a 60-vote threshold for the gun legislation, was unmoved by Obama’s speech. “It is deeply unfortunate that he continues to use the tragedy at Newtown as a backdrop for pushing legislation that would have done nothing to prevent that horrible crime,” Lee said in a statement. “This debate is about more than magazine clips and pistol grips. It is about the purpose of the Second Amendment and why our constitutionally protected right to self-defense is an essential part of self-government.”