By Angela Wills
A live television broadcast of an intense, but civilized, town-hall-style setting was the scene where President Obama was pressed by gun rights activists last Thursday as he pleaded for stricter gun control efforts.
President Obama was put on the defensive end as he was called to justify the reasoning for his requests over an issue that has the nation’s capital divided and the presidential campaign trail up in smoke.
The blunt debate occurred on the same day that the president pledged in an Op-Ed article that was published by The New York Times that he wouldn’t “campaign for, vote for or support” any candidates, Democrats included, who don’t support “common-sense” gun control measures. In the article, President Obama urged Americans who were in agreement with him on these measures of gun control to join him in his push to elect new lawmakers in Congress.
The warning issued by the president in an election-year is a reminder to those Democrats that are campaigning to replace him, including Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, that they shouldn’t steer too far off course from the president’s agenda. Clinton has pushed assertively for strict gun control, while Sanders says that he supports Obama’s actions.
Those Democratic congressional candidates in the more conservative rural states who are against gun control measures, stand the chance of losing President Obama’s public support, although it is not clear if his support will be beneficial to them at all.
Earlier last week, the president presented an emotional plea during an even at the White House where he announced executive actions that planned to expand background checks. During the forum, a rape victim, owner of a gun shop and an Arizona sheriff questioned the president and urged him to not make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to acquire guns.
The questioners, selected by CNN, which moderated and proposed the forum, established an environment that was a bit unusual for a president. However, according to White House officials, it served a purpose that they wanted: to allow the president to respond to what he thinks are incorrect or misleading arguments regarding his take on gun control.
President Obama remained cordial but firm throughout the questions of the event, relaying that his efforts to modify or improve the current background check system would have no genuine effect on their ability to purchase guns.
President Obama stated, “Yes, it is a false notion that I believe is circulated either for political reasons or commercial reasons in order to prevent a coming together of people of good will”, in regards to accusations that he wants to confiscate guns.