A month after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting claimed the life of 26 people, including 18 children, pro-gun lobby the National Rifle Association is back on the offensive.
The gun rights association released an ad on video sharing platform YouTube. It attacks Obama for expressing doubts over the idea of more armed guards in schools.
It points out that Sasha and Malia, Obama’s daughters, are protected by armed guards (actually by the Secret Service). The ad then complains about Obama’s intention to make other schools in the country gun-free zones.
The description of the video states Obama’s doubts and alleged double standards are “the latest example of [his] elitist hypocrisy.”
The violent rhetoric and the mentions of Obama’s children prompted the White House to condemn the ad.
“Most Americans agree that a president’s children should not be used as pawns in a political fight. But to go so far as to make the safety of the president’s children the subject of an attack ad is repugnant and cowardly,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
You be the judge:
The first volleys of the heated gun debate to come
The ad comes as Obama unveils sweeping efforts to reduce gun violence that are for the most part opposed by the NRA, the nation’s leading gun rights group.
In a press conference on Wednesday, President Obama, joined by Vice-President Joe Biden, unveiled a plan that had been dubbed by news agency AP as “the most sweeping proposals for curbing gun violence in two decades”.
The plan would require criminal background checks for all gun sales and a ban on military-style assault weapons. Obama also proposed an end to high-capacity ammunition clips, instead limiting clips to 10 rounds. He would also toughen laws aimed at reducing gun trafficking.
He vowed to protect the Second Amendment guaranteeing the right to bear arms but also said other fundamental rights, such as liberty, freedom of assembly and the pursuit of happiness should be protected from gun violence.
Obama admitted that the political and legislative fights ahead would be hard: “that doesn’t mean any of this will be easy to enact or implement. If it were, we would already have universal background checks.”
He concluded on a hopeful note:
“Let’s do the right thing for them, and for this country we love so much.” —President Obama— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) Janvier 16, 2013
However, the debate is likely to last for weeks, if not months. Some US media have already started to estimate the odds of some parts of the plans being successfully implemented.
Picture: Customers shop for weapons at the Bullet Hole in Sarasota, Florida as they listen to an announcement about gun control by President Obama. Photograph: brian Blanco/Reuters