President Barack Obama accused opponents of gun control of fighting to allow “dangerous people” to own guns in a speech on Saturday to activists at Congressional Black Caucus, promising he would revive his failed gun control efforts following recent urban shootings in Chicago and Washington D.C.’s Navy Yard.
“We can’t rest until all of our children can go to school or walk down the street free from the fear that they will be struck down by a stray bullet,” he said, citing recent shooting in Chicago’s African-American districts.
The promise of gun control came with the incendiary suggestion that gun-rights supporters are eager to provide guns to criminals in Chicago, D.C. and other Democrat-run cities that have a high crime rate.
“As long as there are those who fight to make it as easy as possible for dangerous people to get their hands on a gun, then we’ve got to work as hard as possible for the sake of our children,” he said.
In 2008, Obama ran on a “hope and change” promise of restoring bipartisan cooperation in D.C. — but on Saturday, he sketched out the beginnings of a P.R. campaign to overcome bipartisan resistance in the Senate to federal regulations on guns.
“Tomorrow… I’ll be meeting and mourning with families in this city who now know the same unspeakable grief of families in Newtown, and Aurora, and Tucson, and Chicago, and New Orleans and all across the country — people whose loved ones were torn from them without headlines sometimes, or public outcry,” he said.
Obama suffered a critical political defeat in April when the Senate rejected his proposals for stricter gun control. (RELATED: Obama lashes out at GOP, NRA after gun bill fails)
His effort to curb gun rights has been stalled by several Democratic Senators who are facing 2014 elections in their GOP-leaning states. The Democrats’ Senate leader, Sen. Harry Reid, said on Thursday that Democrats didn’t have the votes to pass gun control legislation in 2013.
The successful recall votes in September of two pro-gun control Democratic state Senators in Colorado also reduces the likelihood of Obama’s latest efforts.
But the renewed campaign for gun control may increase African-Americans and suburban-swing voter turnout in the 2014 mid-term elections.
Obama’s red-meat rhetoric also included a defense of his Obamacare healthcare network, and nostalgic invocations of anti-discrimination marches from half a century ago. He did not discuss how he planned to jumpstart stalled economy or lower the very high unemployment rate among African-Americans, but instead blamed companies and wealthy Americans for the 13 percent unemployment rate among African-Americans.
“At a time when black unemployment remains twice as high as white unemployment, at a time when working Americans of all races have seen their incomes and wages stagnate even as corporate profits and the incomes of folks at the very top are soaring, we’ve got to pick up the torch of economic justice,” he declared, shortly before he urged passage of a hike in the minimum wage.
He also slammed the GOP’s new budget, which funds the government but not the Obamacare network.
GOP legislators, Obama said, “are actually willing to see the United States default on its obligations and plunge this country back into a painful recession if they can’t deny the basic security of health care to millions of Americans… We’re not going to allow anyone to inflict economic pain on millions of our own people just to make an ideological point.”