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Presidential Debate: Obama Says He Would Renew Assault Weapons Ban Efforts

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October 17, 2012
Presidential Debate: Obama Says He Would Renew Assault Weapons Ban Efforts - 8

If re-elected, President Barack Obama will initiate "a broader conversation" about reducing gun violence. Part of that discussion, he said, will be "seeing if we can get an assault weapons ban reintroduced."

Obama made that statement during Tuesday's presidential debate with Republican challenger Mitt Romney, issuing his strongest statement yet about re-imposing the Clinton Era assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004.

Unlike the first debate two weeks earlier, which didn't include discussion about gun control and Second Amendment rights, Tuesday's second Obama-Romney go-around featured a spirited exchange regarding a prospective AWB renewal and a Romney gaffe that it is "already illegal in this country to have automatic weapons."

In response to Obama's vow to reinstate the AWB, Romney reiterated his campaign pledge to focus on enforcing existing laws rather than impose new ones.

Obama used Romney's remarks to portray him as a flip-flopper, noting as Massachusetts Governor in 2004, he signed a statewide automatic weapons ban.

"First of all, I think Governor Romney was for an assault weapons ban before he was against it," Obama said, claiming Romney only changed his position to garner the NRA's endorsement.

Romney said he signed the bill to extend Massachusetts' existing assault weapons ban, which borrowed language from the expiring federal AWB. Legislators feared the state law would be invalidated when the federal ban expired, so they passed a new one and Romney signed it.

Callum Borchers of the Boston Globe in a post-debate fact check said Obama's flip-flop claim is weak.

Romney's "apparent change in position is less stark when placed in context," he writes. "Massachusetts’ leading gun rights group, the Gun Owners Action League, has called the state ban Romney signed a 'victory for gun owners.'"

Romney uncorked the debate's biggest blunder by saying, "We, of course, don't want to have automatic weapons, and that's already illegal in this country to have automatic weapons."

Brian Bennett of the LA Times confirmed the obvious in a post-debate fact check, writing that the National Firearms Act of 1934, the Gun Control Act of 1968 and the Hughes Amendment in 1986 "have all placed limits on how automatic guns can be bought and sold, but did not make it illegal to possess them entirely."

Bennett details the elaborate process required to legally own a fully automatic weapon. "Purchasing one requires submitting fingerprints and photographs to the (ATF) going through an FBI criminal background check, and paying a $200 tax, among other requirements," Bennett writes. "Only automatic weapons manufactured and registered with the federal government before 1986 can be bought, owned and sold."

Seattle Gun Rights Examiner Dave Workman writes that while Romney is clearly wrong, "one might shave a point in his favor since full automatic weapons aren’t legal for average shooters; one must go through several hoops and pay a special tax to own a machine gun."

Workman was pleased that Romney confronted Obama over his use of executive privilege to block the release of information regarding his administration's 'Fast & Furious' gunwalking debacle.

He called it "a bull’s eye" that Obama dodged when debate moderator Candy Crowley shifted attention to the Massachusetts automatic weapons ban.

"The subject was left hanging like dirty laundry," Workman writes. "Romney was put into the position of having to explain the Massachusetts legislation rather than the president having to explain why he extended executive privilege to cover documents subpoenaed by Congressman Darrell Issa and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform."

For more, go to:

Obama wants semi-auto ban renewed; Mitt brings up F&F

Obama suggests he would seek to revive ban on assault weapons

Obama may revive ban on assault weapons

Fact Check: Romney says it's illegal to have automatic weapons

Fact check: Rivals’ statements call for close review

Obama calls for restarting statutory ban on assault weapons; Romney reaffirms changed position

Gun Laws: Every Home Should Have One [OPINION/POLL]

Obama Mentions Chicago's Gun Problem During Debate

Will Media Fact Check Romney's Assault Weapons Ban Claim?

Obama: Romney ‘Was For An Assault-Weapons Ban Before He Was Against it’

Obama Calls for Renewal of Assault Weapons Ban

Gun Violence Policy Returns To The Presidential Debates

Comments (8)

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from DSMbirddog wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

Thanks, Dcast. I didn't get the handgun part. Its ironic that Chicago has some of the toughest gun ordinances in the country and they still stay at near the top of cities with high firearms murder rates. More laws at the Federal level won't disarm the gangsters in Chicago.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from akferraro1 wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

I hear Field and Stream is going to pick up this story right after the election.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jerry A. wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

That should say that Obama wasn't interested in taking guns away. Whoops.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jerry A. wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

All of my hunting buddies that are Democrats are going to have to eat their words now. They claimed Obama was interested in taking guns away from law abiding citizens. Looks like they were wrong.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dcast wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

Here was his statement and I think people missed out on one 'HUGE' part. That being the last sentence in his comment about handguns. Not only does he throughout the AWB but he then proceeds to include handguns!

“I also share your belief that weapons that were designed for soldiers in war theaters don't belong on our streets,” he said. “And so what I'm trying to do is to get a broader conversation about how do we reduce the violence generally. Part of it is seeing if we can get an assault weapons ban reintroduced. But part of it is also looking at other sources of the violence. Because frankly, in my home town of Chicago, there's an awful lot of violence and they're not using AK-47s. They're using cheap handguns.”

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from akferraro1 wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

I wouldn't trust any gun owner who who thinks Obama will protect our Second Amendment rights to play with sharpe scissors.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from DSMbirddog wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

I agree huntfishtrap I wouldn't call it a "gaffe" either. Your average gun owner won't go through the red tape and the cost to own full auto weapons. I know I won't. The moderator saved Obama's bacon several times in that debate. Those in favor of assault weapon bans never want to discuss just what exactly an assault weapon is.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from huntfishtrap wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

I think saying that Romney made a gaffe in saying that automatic weapons are illegal is a little harsh, maybe technically that's true, but if you ask 10 average gun owners, probably 8 or 9 will tell you that fully automatic weapons are for all practical purposes illegal, for the average John Q. Citizen.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report

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from huntfishtrap wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

I think saying that Romney made a gaffe in saying that automatic weapons are illegal is a little harsh, maybe technically that's true, but if you ask 10 average gun owners, probably 8 or 9 will tell you that fully automatic weapons are for all practical purposes illegal, for the average John Q. Citizen.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from DSMbirddog wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

I agree huntfishtrap I wouldn't call it a "gaffe" either. Your average gun owner won't go through the red tape and the cost to own full auto weapons. I know I won't. The moderator saved Obama's bacon several times in that debate. Those in favor of assault weapon bans never want to discuss just what exactly an assault weapon is.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from akferraro1 wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

I wouldn't trust any gun owner who who thinks Obama will protect our Second Amendment rights to play with sharpe scissors.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dcast wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

Here was his statement and I think people missed out on one 'HUGE' part. That being the last sentence in his comment about handguns. Not only does he throughout the AWB but he then proceeds to include handguns!

“I also share your belief that weapons that were designed for soldiers in war theaters don't belong on our streets,” he said. “And so what I'm trying to do is to get a broader conversation about how do we reduce the violence generally. Part of it is seeing if we can get an assault weapons ban reintroduced. But part of it is also looking at other sources of the violence. Because frankly, in my home town of Chicago, there's an awful lot of violence and they're not using AK-47s. They're using cheap handguns.”

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jerry A. wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

All of my hunting buddies that are Democrats are going to have to eat their words now. They claimed Obama was interested in taking guns away from law abiding citizens. Looks like they were wrong.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from akferraro1 wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

I hear Field and Stream is going to pick up this story right after the election.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jerry A. wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

That should say that Obama wasn't interested in taking guns away. Whoops.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from DSMbirddog wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

Thanks, Dcast. I didn't get the handgun part. Its ironic that Chicago has some of the toughest gun ordinances in the country and they still stay at near the top of cities with high firearms murder rates. More laws at the Federal level won't disarm the gangsters in Chicago.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)