Axelrod: Despite NRA, Congress will take ‘some action’ on gun issues
BY NATASHA KORECKI Political Reporter Twitter: @natashakorecki January 15, 2013 4:26PM
David Axelrod and William Daley, guest speakers at Misericordia Home, Tuesday, January 15, 2013. l John H. White~Sun-Times photo
Updated: January 15, 2013 11:05PM
As President Barack Obama is expected to unveil a sweeping set of proposals to overhaul gun laws on Wednesday, his chief political strategist said in Chicago he believes Congress will act even in the face of a “tremendously powerful” gun lobby.
“I do think there will be some action taken. I don’t think it will be everything the president wants ... I just think that there is an awakening,” David Axelrod said at an event to benefit Misericordia, a home for the developmentally disabled where Axelrod’s daughter lives.
Axelrod pointed to the Connecticut school children who were gunned down with multiple gunshot wounds as their killer was able to spray bullets without having to reload his weapon.
“I think it was stunning to everyone, and I do think it’s changed the discussion,” Axelrod said. “This isn’t the first of these incidents that we’ve had but it is the most graphic and horrifying because of the circumstances.”
Axelrod said the most extreme of the spectrum of National Rifle Association members had “seized control” of the group and it would be the administration’s task to “break those folks away,” who are in favor of reasonable reforms.
Axelrod spoke at the event along with William Daley, the brother of former Mayor Richard M. Daley, who said once again of running for Illinois governor: “I am giving it a lot of thought.”
Axelrod pointed to former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, who survived an assassination attempt by Jared Loughner, who later pleaded guilty to killing others in the mass shooting. Giffords was once a strong NRA supporter. Today, she is on a national campaign to change gun laws.
Among the proposals expected to come from Obama is a ban on high-capacity magazines and military-style “assault” rifles that were temporarily banned under President Bill Clinton in 1994 and as well as strengthening background checks.
“I think the NRA is tremendously powerful,” Axelrod said. “The NRA is more powerful today than it was in 1994.”
Daley said the public should follow the lead of police officers and law enforcement leaders. “They’re the ones we should listen to. … They are crying for reasonable gun control.”
Later, Daley said he supports reinstituting a Clinton-style weapons ban.
“I think we’ve gotten to the point where some of these weapons … is way beyond anything that is reasonable in a civil society,” Daley said.
On the other side of the issue, the Illinois State Rifle Association sent its members a memo telling them to show up to a gun control rally in Wilmette on Sunday to combat anti-gun recruiters and their message.
“These are the people who don’t care if you or your family members are raped, robbed and murdered by violent criminals,” said the ISRA email, urging members to attend. “They only care about one thing — disarming you.”