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The other day I wrote a diary suggesting that only Mitt Romney had sufficient leverage to put gun control, or at the very least a renewed assault weapons ban, back on the national agenda.  Obama, I argued, was in a weak position given the constant drumbeat of false attacks on him coordinated by the NRA and its allies in the pro-gun community.  Only Romney, who has supported an assault weapons ban in the past -- in fact, signed one while governor of Massachusetts -- has the standing with the pro-gun crowd to actually change the national conversation.

I didn't expect the president to take a stand, given the realities of the election campaign.  But tonight, he surprised me.

Five days after a gunman killed 12 people in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater, President Obama spoke at length about the need for government action to reduce gun violence, including hinting at a return to the assault weapons ban and tightening restrictions on gun purchases.
Jump to the other side...

Here are a couple of quotes from Obama's speech to the National Urban League, according to TPM:

I, like most Americans, believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual the right to bear arms,” Obama said. “But I also believe that a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals — that they belong on the battlefields of war and not on the streets of our cities.
I believe the majority of gun owners would agree that we should do everything possible to prevent criminals and fugitives from purchasing weapons. We should check someone’s criminal record before they can check out a gun seller. Many mentally unbalanced individuals should not be able to get his hands on a gun so easily,” he said. “These steps shouldn’t be controversial they should be common sense.
The president just threw the ball back into Romney's court.  Will Mittens have the courage to stand up to the pro-gun crazies?

Do pigs fly?

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