Monday, January 28, 2013

Obama: Rural Americans' opinions on guns are important, should be heard in gun-control debate

In an interview with The New Republic magazine, President Obama "urged gun-control advocates to listen to views of rural Americans who use guns for hunting and said bridging a cultural divide in attitudes to gun ownership will be critical to his administration's push to curb gun violence," Roberta Rampton of Reuters reports. The articles was published on the magazine's website Sunday, but Obama spoke with the magazine Jan. 16, the same day he announced he would push Congress to approve an assault-weapons ban, background checks for all gun buyers and several other measures.

"Part of being able to move forward is understanding the realities of guns in urban areas are very different from the realities of guns in rural area," Obama said. Trying to bridge those gaps "is going to be part of the biggest task over the next several months, and that means that advocates of gun control have to do a little more listening than they do sometimes." Vice President Joe Biden is leading a White House effort to open discussion about gun control and galvanize public support to pressure Congress to act on it. Past efforts to restrict gun ownership have been blocked by gun owners, the National Rifle Association and their Congressional supporters, Rampton reports.

Rural America overwhelmingly voted Republican during the presidential election, and Obama was criticized during the 2008 election for supposedly private comments about how rural Americans "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them," Rampton reports. He later apologized for those remarks. (Read more)

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