Gun control is a perilous issue for President Obama (recall his infamous statement in the 2008 campaign that working class voters “cling to guns”) so the push for new restrictions after the Tucson shootings puts the president in an especially tricky political predicament, says Politico.com. Obama has supported most major gun and ammunition control initiatives during a decade and a half in public life, including renewing the expired ban on semi-automatic assault rifles. Now, he talks about the issue using muted, non-confrontational tones to avoid alienating gun-friendly voters, a part of the electorate that has steadily drifted away from Obama.
White House officials have remained noncommittal about an effort by liberals in the House and Senate to restrict access to the kind of high-capacity ammunition magazines that allowed suspect Jared Loughner to inflict mass casualties in a matter of seconds using a single, legal handgun. Gun control advocates say Obama, who often touts his willingness to defy prevailing political opinion in service of higher principle, has the moral responsibility to make a statement on the issue – even if the bill has little chance of passing.