Barack Obama is embracing anti-gun policies in the run-up to a Democratic presidential debate scheduled on the one-year anniversary of the Virginia Tech shootings.
“I am not in favor of concealed weapons,” Obama told the Pittsburgh Tribune. “I think that creates a potential atmosphere where more innocent people could (get shot during) altercations.”
These remarks break from Obama’s previous moderate rhetoric on gun control.
While campaigning in Idaho in February, Obama promised, “I have no intention of taking away folks’ guns.”
Obama elaborated later that month in a political forum sponsored by ABC News and the Politico. He said: “I think it's important for us to recognize that we've got a tradition of handgun ownership and gun ownership generally. And a lot of law-abiding citizens use it for hunting, for sportsmanship, and for protecting their families. We also have a violence on the streets that is the result of illegal handgun usage. And so I think there is nothing wrong with a community saying we are going to take those illegal handguns off the streets. And cracking down on the various loopholes that exist in terms of background checks for children, the mentally ill. We can have reasonable, thoughtful gun control measure that I think respects the Second Amendment and people's traditions."
Obama’s tough talk on gun control may be prompted by Philadelphia-based Democratic leaders who are pressuring Clinton and Obama to adopt harder stances on gun control. This issue is expected to come up in ABC News’ Democratic debate on April 16 in Philadelphia. 32 people were shot to death on the campus of Virginia Tech by Seung-Hui Cho April 16, 2007.
Obama’s new hardline liberal position differs from his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and GOP candidate John McCain, who both are for concealed-carry.
The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) said in a statement Obama should apologize and revise his stance. “Barack Obama ignorantly believes that legally-armed Americans are as reckless and irresponsible as the criminals with whom his political sympathies evidently law,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “He has been insisting for months he supports the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, but here he is now campaigning in Pennsylvania, stating essentially he would prefers Americans not exercise that right.”
[Editor's note: Clinton has never gone on record supporting concealed carry. It is more correct to say Clinton has not opposed concealed carry laws.]