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AEHQ Issues -- Gun control returns to 2012 debate

 

Throughout the presidential campaign, Fox News will be breaking down the key issues and giving viewers an in-depth look at the positions of President Obama and presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney. This article in the AEHQ Issues series focuses on gun control. 

"I'm sure we'll have more opportunity to talk about this."

That was President Obama's response Thursday, ducking a question on whether his administration will beef up gun control laws in the wake of the horrific shooting in Aurora, Colo.

The dodge came just a day after the president sounded off on the issue during a speech before the National Urban League, saying "a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals."

At the same speech, Obama -- who has pushed for an assault weapons ban in the past -- stressed "common sense" solutions could fix the problem in the future. He pointed to stepped-up background checks, which he said "shouldn't be controversial."

Yet the gun control issue remains controversial on the campaign trail this year, as evidenced by the president's apparent indecision on how hard to push. Obama catches criticism from the left for not doing enough, and criticism from the right for suggesting stricter rules are needed.

GOP rival Mitt Romney, meanwhile, is refusing to push for new gun control laws despite his history in Massachusetts.

During the 2008 campaign, Obama openly supported the reinstatement of the federal assault weapons ban. Yet Romney signed such a ban in Massachusetts as well, though it was backed by both the pro- and anti-gun lobby. "There's no question that I support Second Amendment rights," he said in 2007. "But I also support an assault weapon ban."

While Romney acknowledges he signed the ban while governor, in an interview with CNN, Romney was quick to ad, "I don't support new gun laws in our country. We have a lot of gun laws now. We have background checks and other restrictions on gun ownership in our country."

Not good enough on either side, according to Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence President Dan Gross.

"We're disappointed by the lack of leadership at every level. Congress has not shown any leadership in really wanting to have a discussion about what we can do to solve this problem, the president hasn't show enough leadership and Governor Romney hasn't show leadership on it," Gross told Fox News.

"America is ready to have this conversation, it seems like everybody is ready to have it except for Congress, the president, the people who we have elected to represent us and that's what fundamentally has to change," he added.

It may be awhile before Congress takes up the call, though.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says with the current schedule, there is no way new gun control legislation will come up this year.

Asked what the lawmakers' plans were for September, Reid scoffed his biggest goals were that he "hopes Bryce Harper continues to do well and the Washington Nationals are going to win to the pennant."