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Gun control: Why Obama played it safe in remarks on violence in cities

In a speech Wednesday to the National Urban League, President Obama made his first extended remarks on gun violence since the Colorado shooting spree that killed 12.  Both the president and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, have played it safe in their comments on gun control.

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President Obama addresses the National Urban League convention at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Wednesday, July 25.

Susan Walsh/AP

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Six days after the shooting spree in Colorado that killed 12 people, President Obama made his first extended remarks on gun violence.

Speaking Wednesday night to a gathering of the National Urban League in New Orleans, Mr. Obama extended his focus beyond the movie theater in Aurora, Colo., and into the streets of Chicago and Atlanta, where guns take the lives of young people daily.

In a bow to political reality, Obama didn’t call for any new laws. Instead, he highlighted measures already taken that don’t require legislation, such as background checks for the purchase of firearms that are now “more thorough.” What he didn’t say was that the background check on the alleged Aurora shooter, James Holmes, turned up nothing to deny him his weapons. All of his firearms were obtained legally.

As has become customary for Obama in statements on gun violence, he made a bow to the Second Amendment right to bear arms, and the “cherished national heritage” of which hunting and shooting are a part.  

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