WASHINGTON — Just miles from the site of the Newtown shooting, President Obama called out members of Congress Monday for threatening to block action on gun violence.
But while he was talking, there was yet another sign that passing gun control legislation soon is an uphill climb at best on Capitol Hill.
In a forceful speech delivered in Hartford, Conn., Obama dismissed the suggestion that the desire for gun control has faded in the months since the shooting at the nearby elementary school.
“We’re not forgetting,” Obama said.
The president called out Republican members of Congress promising to filibuster the Democratic-led gun control bill currently on the table. The bill contains provisions like universal background checks that poll well with the general public but have drawn the strong opposition of the National Rifle Association and its allies.
“They’re not just saying they’ll vote no,” Obama said. “They’re saying they won’t allow votes…they’re saying your opinion doesn’t matter.”
Obama seemed frustrated by the mounting opposition and, as he often has, called on the American people to pressure their representatives to join the call for new gun laws.
“What’s more important?” he said. “Our children or an A grade from the gun lobby?”
Obama has been pushing hard for gun legislation since the Newtown shooting shocked the American public as well as the occupants of the White House. Though there have been signs that some conservative Democrats and some moderate Republicans are willing to cross the NRA and support background checks and other measures, it’s appearing less likely that the conservative GOP will join them.
While Obama was speaking, the most powerful Republican in the Senate joined the group of conservatives threatening to shut down the gun bill on the table there.
“While nobody knows yet what Senator Reid’s plan is for the gun bill, if he chooses to file cloture on the motion to proceed to the Reid Bill (S. 649), Senator McConnell will oppose cloture on proceeding to that bill,” a spokesperson for the Senate Minority Leader told BuzzFeed.
Obama’s strategy seems to be to shame members like McConnell into voting for gun control measures powerful forces in their base oppose. Obama repeated his call from the State Of The Union that gun violence proposals “deserve a vote.”
The crowd in Hartford began to chant “we want a vote,” in a moment that made the speech reminiscent of a campaign rally.