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Barack Obama urges gun lobby to listen to rural America

  • by ROBERTA RAMPTON
 

President Barack Obama has urged gun control advocates to listen to the 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.

President Barack Obama has urged gun control advocates to listen to the 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.

“If you grew up and your dad gave you a hunting rifle when you were ten, and you went out and spent the day with him and your uncles, and that became part of your family’s traditions, you can see why you’d be pretty protective of that,” Mr Obama said in an interview with The New Republic magazine published yesterday.

Mr Obama made gun control a top priority for his second term after 20 children and six adults were killed in December by a gunman at a school in Newtown, Connecticut.

He spoke with The New Republic on 16 January, the same day he announced he would put the full weight of his office behind urging Congress to approve an assault weapons ban and background checks for all gun buyers.

“Part of being able to move this forward is understanding the reality of guns in urban areas are very different from the realities of guns in rural areas,” Mr Obama said.

“So it’s trying to bridge those gaps that I think 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 the White House effort to talk to Americans about the gun control proposals and galvanise the public to pressure Congress to act. Last Friday, he spoke in Virginia about the plan.

Gun ownership rights are enshrined in the US constitution, and past efforts to restrict gun ownership have been blocked by gun owners, the National Rifle Association and its supporters in Congress.

 
 
 

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