The President delivered the first state of the union address of his second term tonight before a packed house that included members of both houses of Congress, conspicuously sprinkled with gun violence survivors. And many in the crowd were ostentatiously wearing kelly green Sandy Hook remembrance ribbons for the cameras’ benefit. Among the many pet initiatives and a sotto voce declaration of ‘mission accomplished,’ Mr. Obama made sure to include a call for Congress to vote on new gun control laws . . .
On his wish list of civilian disarmament measures were, as expected, “commone sense reforms” like eliminating “weapons of war” from the streets and universal background checks because “this time it’s different.” Because our “police are tired of being outgunned.” Gabby Giffords and the families of Newtown and Aurora, he shouted over applause, “deserve a vote.”
Also as expected, the President’s call for the abrogation of the people’s Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms was greeted with an enthusiastic standing ovation by members of his own party along with a practiced look of concern and dutiful applause from his Vice President behind him. In short, nothing about the speech — firearms-wise — will come as a surprise to the People of the Gun. Plus ça change . . . .
Transcript excerpt of President Obama’s Remarks: [via CNN]:
Of course, what I’ve said tonight matters little if we don’t come together to protect our most precious resource – our children.
It has been two months since Newtown. I know this is not the first time this country has debated how to reduce gun violence. But this time is different. Overwhelming majorities of Americans – Americans who believe in the 2nd Amendment – have come together around commonsense reform – like background checks that will make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun. Senators of both parties are working together on tough new laws to prevent anyone from buying guns for resale to criminals. Police chiefs are asking our help to get weapons of war and massive ammunition magazines off our streets, because they are tired of being outgunned.
Each of these proposals deserves a vote in Congress. If you want to vote no, that’s your choice. But these proposals deserve a vote. Because in the two months since Newtown, more than a thousand birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun.
One of those we lost was a young girl named Hadiya Pendleton. She was 15 years old. She loved Fig Newtons and lip gloss. She was a majorette. She was so good to her friends, they all thought they were her best friend. Just three weeks ago, she was here, in Washington, with her classmates, performing for her country at my inauguration. And a week later, she was shot and killed in a Chicago park after school, just a mile away from my house.
Hadiya’s parents, Nate and Cleo, are in this chamber tonight, along with more than two dozen Americans whose lives have been torn apart by gun violence. They deserve a vote.
Gabby Giffords deserves a vote.
The families of Newtown deserve a vote.
The families of Aurora deserve a vote.
The families of Oak Creek, and Tucson, and Blacksburg, and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence – they deserve a simple vote.
Our actions will not prevent every senseless act of violence in this country. Indeed, no laws, no initiatives, no administrative acts will perfectly solve all the challenges I’ve outlined tonight. But we were never sent here to be perfect. We were sent here to make what difference we can, to secure this nation, expand opportunity, and uphold our ideals through the hard, often frustrating, but absolutely necessary work of self-government.