Analysis: We Need Leaders to Take a Stand Against Guns

The Colorado massacre challenges Obama and Romney to do more about guns

By Gabe Pressman
|  Friday, Jul 20, 2012  |  Updated 5:58 PM EDT
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Mayor Bloomberg has challenged the two leading candidates for President to come out for stricter gun control. But, if past performance means anything, both President Obama and Mitt Romney will be too chicken to do it.

Both candidates have expressed deep sympathy for the families of the victims. But Bloomberg said, on the John Gambling radio show: "Soothing words are nice, but maybe it’s time that the two people who want to be President of the United States stand up and tell us what they’re gonna do about it. No matter where you stand on the Second Amendment, no matter where you stand on guns, we have a right to hear from both of them."

Our mayor is telling it like it is. The shooter in Aurora, authorities said, had an assault rifle, a shotgun, two hand guns and several canisters of tear gas. The mayor said gun violence was a problem across the country, not only in cities. "I don’t think there’s any other developed country in the world that has remotely the problem we have….we have more guns than people in this country."

Jackie Hilly of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence strongly endorsed the mayor’s message. She told me: "What happened in Aurora was a massacre made with military-style weapons. I agree 100 percent with the mayor. It’s time for the President and Mr. Romney to say what they’re going to do."

Two Supreme Court decisions, Heller and McDonald, she said, have affirmed that the Second Amendment doesn’t give people the right to bear arms all the time.

"It’s time for politicians on a national level to act. Let’s save the hopes and prayers for the future. I’m optimistic the country will come to its senses."

Long Island Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, who lost her husband when a crazed gunman shot up a Long Island Railroad car, was reached in her Washington office.

"I think the President’s heart is in the right place. But I’m frustrated," she told me. "Why can’t the legislators realize that we’ve got to do something? We’ve got to stand up. You’ve got be thinking what am I doing wrong."

" I don’t know what kind of tragedy has to take place before we wake up. I know there are a lot of common sense people out there. When will we be able to sit down together and come up with a solution?"

And some other thoughts from the two men who would lead this country:

Obama said: "We may never understand what leads anybody to terrorize their fellow human beings like this. Such violence, such evil is senseless. It’s beyond reason." And the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, said he was "praying for the families and loved ones of the victims during this time of deep shock and immense grief."

Neither Obama, the philosophical academic, nor Romney, the prayerful politician, seems to have the answer. And, so far, neither has shown the guts to take a firm stand against the gun lobby.

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