President Obama on Monday accused the gun lobby of cynically stoking fears of a government gun grab because doing so “good for business.”
“I think that we’ve seen for some time now that those who oppose any common sense gun-control or gun-safety measures have a pretty effective way of ginning up fear on the part of gun owners, that somehow the federal government’s about to take all your guns away,” Obama said at a press conference just after noon.
“And there’s probably an economic element to that,” he added. “It obviously is good for business.”
Vice President Biden will today present his recommendations on quelling gun violence; the president said he’ll make those public later this week.
The notion that the government wants to take away Americans’ guns has been a frequent component of gun-rights advocates’ rhetoric, both before and after last month’s Newtown, Conn. shootings.
“We see the president’s strategy crystal clear: get re-elected, and with no other re-elections to worry about, get busy dismantling and destroying our firearms freedom,” NRA president Wayne LaPierre said in 2011. “Erase the Second Amendment from the Bill of Rights and exorcise it from the U.S. Constitution.”
Gun owners have nothing to fear, Obama insisted on Monday. “Those of us who look at this problem have repeatedly said that responsible gun owners, people who have a gun for protection, for hunting, for sportsmanship, they don’t have anything to worry about,” he said.
Obama also confirmed that he’ll likely aim to address gun violence in part through executive action, which would allow him to sidestep Congress. “I’m confident that there are some steps we could take that don’t require legislation, that are within my power,” he said. Still, most significant gun-control measures, like banning assault weapons, would need congressional approval.