A week before the Pennsylvania primary, Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton are avoiding firm stands on gun control in a state where the issue arouses deep emotions, reports the Associated Press. The largest city has the ominous nickname “Killadelphia.” The National Rifle Association has 250,000 members in Pennsylvania, more than in any other state. This month the Pennsylvania House soundly defeated a bill to require handgun owners to report the theft or loss of their guns to police. Neither senator has taken a position on the case before the U.S. Supreme Court over whether the District of Columbia’s ban on handguns violates the Constitution’s Second Amendment.
Obama says he has “no intention of taking away folks’ guns,” but believes in background checks for prospective gun buyers. Clinton has called for renewing the national ban on assault-type weapons and allowing federal authorities to share gun-tracing information with local police. “Gun control is divisive, controversial and likely to divide their core support,” said Terry Madonna, a professor and pollster at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa.