According to a report that was released back in January 2010 by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, in the first year of his presidency, President Obama signed into law more repeals of federal gun policies than in the eight years of the Bush administration that preceded him. As a candidate back in 2008, President Obama stated that he believed in certain constraints on the second amendment.
Back in February 2008 in addressing the D.C. hand gun ban, which the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional, then Senator Obama said, “I think it’s important for us to recognize that we’ve got a tradition of handgun ownership and gun ownership generally. And a lot of law-abiding citizens use it for hunting, for sportsmanship, and for protecting their families. We also have a violence on the streets that is the result of illegal handgun usage. And so I think there is nothing wrong with a community saying we are going to take those illegal handguns off the streets. And cracking down on the various loopholes that exist in terms of background checks for children, the mentally ill. We can have reasonable, thoughtful gun control measure that I think respect the Second Amendment and people’s traditions.”
As a candidate back in 2008, Obama supported instant criminal background checks on people buying guns and thought that the background check requirement should extend to firearms purchased at gun shows.
Instead of working to close some of the gun law loopholes and address gun violence, President Obama’s initial year in office was noted for keeping quiet on closing the gun show loophole, expanding the ability to carry loaded guns to national parks, repealing a post-9/11 security measure that barred guns on Amtrak, and for being on the receiving end of criticism for not directly addressing gun violence in the aftermath of some high profile shootings including the incident at Fort Hood. In the Brady report that was released in January 2010, it states that there have been at least 200 mass shootings since President Obama took office.
The killing of 20 little children in their school last week may have moved the issue of gun control and firearm policy to the forefront of the policy agenda, but President Obama’s reluctance to act initially in his presidency may motivate him to take the “meaningful action” he called for in Newtown, Connecticut yesterday.