Since the Giffords shooting in Tucson, President Barack Obama and Congress have felt increased pressure from anti-gun advocates, many of whom are urging the president to address their concerns in his State of the Union address Tuesday night. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was among those who asked Obama to advocate for tougher gun laws in the speech.
“What we need is the courage for somebody to stand up and do something instead of just talk about it,” Bloomberg said at a press conference Monday night. “Mayors can deal with it on the local level, but mayors are the ones who have to go to the hospital when somebody gets shot.”
Daniel Hernandez, the intern who saved Rep. Gabrielle Giffords after she was shot in Tucson, also asked the president to address gun control issues.
“It is my hope that President Obama and Congress will work together right away to reform our gun background-check system so that all records of dangerous people are in the system and all gun buyers will have to pass a thorough background check,” Hernandez, who will be sitting with Michelle Obama at the State of the Union address, said in a statement Monday.
Dennis Henigan of the Brady Center, an anti-gun group, told The Daily Caller the president should stop avoiding the “gun issue” as he has for the past two years.
“Look, we think it will change the dynamic on gun control on Capitol Hill overnight because, it would, first of all, be a strong showing of presidential leadership,” Henigan said in a phone interview. “It would signal that the administration is finally going to put the full weight of its authority behind attacking the gun violence problem in this country. It would represent, I think, a departure from the political consensus that has ripped the Democratic Party for the last several years that gun control is the third rail of American politics.”
Henigan said “political pundits” often overlook the details in gun control issues, but said he’d accept any pundit-world side effects a presidential mention of gun issues would have.
“Sure, there will be discussions about the politics of the issue, but hopefully, there will also be the discussion about the need for action,” Henigan said.
The National Rifle Association did not immediately respond to TheDC’s request for comment.
Congressman Steve King, Iowa Republican, said the gun control proposals following the Tucson tragedy were political opportunists taking advantage of the situation.
“It smacks of political opportunism by politicians trying to take advantage of what happened in Tucson,” King said last week. “It’s inappropriate. Most of us would line up against it.”