After criticism that President Obama dodged the gun issue in his State of the Union address, the White House says the president would address the issue soon, the Washington Post reports. As president, Obama has never delivered substantive remarks on gun policy, one of the most volatile and divisive domestic issues, out of fear of roiling swing voters. After 19 people were shot in Tucson on Jan. 8, gun-control groups and some lawmakers urged him to discuss guns.
Paul Helmke of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence assailed Obama for beginning the State of the Union adderss by talking about the dreams of a 9-year-old girl slain in Tucson “without talking about the gun violence that destroyed those dreams.” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who runs a gun-control group, said Obama “missed an opportunity to bring the country together on an issue that has support among the vast majority of Americans: fixing the nation's broken background-check system that is designed to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.” The National Rifle Association opposes the measures in Obama's 2008 platform, including reinstating the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004, as well as other proposals since Tucson. The NRA's Wayne LaPierre told members that, “Once again, you and your freedoms are being blamed for the acts of a deranged madman, who sent signal after signal that he was dangerous.”