Colorado shooting victims are being mourned across the country. The senseless killing of a dozen people in Denver on Friday last is not the first such case in the United States. Yet there are timid response in favour of banning possession of gun.
Neither President Barack Obama nor Republican rival Mitt Romney nor the DenvMayor Michael Hancock, who is otherwise a member of a coalition called Mayors Against Illegal Guns, dared to issue a statement against gun control though they all expressed deep shock and horror on the mass shooting at movie theatre.
This is because most Americans do not believe that tougher gun laws would be the solution. According to Gallup polls the percentage of Americans who favour making gun control laws more strict fell from 78 percent in 1990 to 44 percent in 2010.
A Reuters-Ipsos poll in April last found most Americans supported the right to use deadly force to protect themselves, and two of every three respondents had a favourable view of the National Rifle Association (NRA), which marshals thousands of activists to oppose even small-scale gun regulations and punish lawmakers who challenge them.
President Obama, who supported the ban during the 2008 election campaign, has made no effort as President to curb gun rights and has rarely discussed the issue.
Interestingly, many gun enthusiasts still distrust him. Democrats in conservative and rural states fear alienating gun owners and the National Rifle Association, especially in battleground states like Wisconsin, Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa and North Carolina. These states have large populations of enthusiastic gun owners.
Some supporters of Democrat Al Gore still believe his support for gun control laws played a role in his loss by a wafer-thin margin in the 2000 presidential election.
It needs to be recalled that the NRA had spent at least $40 million in 2008 to try to defeat Obama, for his stand against gun-culture.
On the other hand Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, has courted the NRA and its followers in recent years with promises to support their rights but has offered few details and earned little enthusiasm.
Politics apart the killing of 12 people at a midnight screening of the new Batman movie in the Denver suburb of Aurora may spark a fresh round of soul-searching on America’s relationship with guns. But with politicians not daring to speak out very few people predict any real change in the law.
This is simply because gun control advocates have largely lost the argument against the much more powerful gun lobby.
But one of the few politicians who has long taken a stand is New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire backer of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
Speaking on WOR Radio after Friday’s incident, Bloomberg called on Obama and Romney to tell the public what they would do to reduce gun violence.
“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 are going to do about it,” he said.
“I don’t think there’s any other developed country in the world that has remotely the problem we have,” Bloomberg said. “We have more guns than people in this country.”