On July 12, 2007 candidate Obama made this moving plea to do something about gun violence, to not forget the innocent victims that die from violence daily in our inner cities. All throughout Obama’s presidential campaign he fervently promised to stand up to the gun lobby and fight for strong gun laws. He supported closing the gun show loopholes, strengthening background checks, banning assault weapons, repealing the Tiahrt Amendment (that requires the destruction of background check data) and he said he opposed laws allowing carrying concealed weapons.
President Obama spoke emotionally about not forgetting the victims of gun violence in our inner cities. But it seems that President Obama himself has forgotten about them. Just today, MSNBC reported that two Illinois state representatives have requested that the National Guard be brought in to deal with an epidemic of gun violence and murder plaguing the city of Chicago. Almost as many people have been killed on the streets of Chicago so far this year, 116, than the number of military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan in that same time period, 127.
On just one recent night seven people were killed and eighteen were wounded. In just one night. Two-year-old Sinea Cole was one; she was shot by a stray bullet while traveling in the back seat of a car.
Surely, you would think, President Obama hears the cries of the parents, the brothers and sisters, the friends of the victims of gun violence in his own city of Chicago. You would think that he would be making a heroic effort to fulfill his campaign promises, to stop the carnage in our inner cities. But you would be wrong.
The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence released its report card for Obama’s first year. He received a big, fat F.

On pursuing sensible solutions to the continuing tragedy of gun violence, President Obama’s first year in office has been a failure. He has failed so far to live up to his campaign promises to strengthen federal gun laws and instead has signed legislation to weaken them.
More broadly, President Obama has failed to use the bully pulpit and other Presidential power to show leadership on this issue. His Administration has ceded the debate to the extremist gun lobby, remaining completely silent as the NRA uses threats and intimidation in Congress. Even worse, the Administration’s spokesperson has repeatedly used the White House lectern to parrot the tired NRA line to just "enforce the laws on the books," as if it is enough to enforce laws that are riddled with loopholes.
….[Obama] signed the gun lobby’s agenda into law, expanding the carrying of loaded guns to national parks and forcing a repeal of post-9/11 security measures barring guns on Amtrak. President Obama has not even nominated a Director to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the key federal agency that polices the gun industry….Despite Candidate Obama’s campaign promise to close the gun show loophole, his Administration so far has expressed no support for bipartisan bills pending in the House and Senate that would close this loophole. Administration officials have remained silent or evaded answering questions about this legislation.
Despite the continuing gun trafficking problem in the U.s. and its spillover effects into Mexico, the Obama Administration quickly backed away from promised legislative action to reform weak gun laws and to reinstate the assault weapons ban both of which allow gun traffickers easy access to deadly weapons. And the Administration did not "repeal the Tiahrt Amendment" as promised, instead merely tinkering with it, allowing law enforcement some access to crime gun data, but imposing a broad new gag order on law enforcement, even beyond what had been imposed under the Bush Administration, to prevent the sharing crucial crime gun data with legislators or the public.

Nowhere has Obama’s lack of principle been more glaring than in his championing of policies that hurt the urban poor and minorities, the very groups who turned out in vast numbers to elect him. The streets of his own city of Chicago ring with the sound of gunfire; children attend funerals; young men, once so full of promise are dead or in prison; mothers wonder how they can bear the grief of having lost a child.
And what has Obama done about his promises to work to end the carnage? In an article "He’s Not the Same Barack" in the Wall Street Journal, 5/23/09, an activist expressed grave disappointment over Obama’s failure to address gun violence. He remarked, "He’s not the same Barack. He’s not doing what he said he would do when we were walking the streets together and talking about what we would do if we were in charge."
During the Presidential campaign, the NRA waged an expensive media campaign to defeat Obama in thirteen states; Obama won nearly every state targeted by the NRA. He proved that supporting common-sense gun laws was not the political liability it is presumed to be. Yet since becoming President he has squandered his chance to stop the insanity, to stop children of color from being cut down by bullets day after sickening day. This is NOT change we can believe in. This is not change at all.
A young friend of mine who is African-American, once invited me to her home and I saw three or four pictures on her mirror of smiling, young, black males, in crisp shirts sitting for their school photographs. Next to the photographs were several funeral announcements; her friends had been victims of gun violence. It was just after Obama’s election and enthusiasm was running high. I asked her what she thought of Obama’s election, and this seventeen-year-old girl turned to me with knowing eyes and answered matter-of-factly, "It won’t make any difference here."
At the time I thought she was being overly pessimistic. Now I realize she knew better than I. She had seen right through Obama. He has achieved his dream of becoming President, and he is now carrying out his end of the Faustian bargain he made with those who promised to put him there. Even if that means turning his back on the children of Chicago.

CarolynC

CarolynC

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