Just to recap, 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed last week about a mile from the president’s home in Chicago and police have yet to name a suspect, but rather than travel to his hometown to talk about guns, President Obama is headed to . . . Minneapolis?
President Obama arrived Monday in Minneapolis, where he’s launching his outside-the-Beltway effort to ban assault-style weapons and institute universal background checks for gun buyers.
Air Force One arrived about noon at the Air Reserve Station of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. He will then visit the Minneapolis Police Department’s Special Operations Center at 4115 Dupont Av. N., where he’ll appeal to Americans and law enforcement officials for stricter gun laws in the wake of several mass shootings in recent weeks, among them the killing of 20 children at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
The White House said Obama chose Minneapolis because the city “has taken important steps to reduce gun violence and foster a conversation in the community about what further action is needed.”
“I feel, and I certainly think you know, we’ve been asked by the people of Minneapolis to make this a safer city,” Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said. “We’ve taken a lot of steps to do that. I don’t believe the taxpayers of Minneapolis would like their dollars to be sent to companies that are fighting with us on that.”
The city of Minneapolis has spent $800,000 on guns and ammunition in the last few years, and Rybak said that gives the city power to get tough with gun manufacturers who don’t meet the city’s standards of safety. Rybak said the idea came from a recent summit with Midwest leaders, mayors and law enforcement officers about ways to reduce gun violence.
“We are going to redouble our efforts locally, because we were doing it before the president came and we will continue to do it after the president leaves,” said Minneapolis city councilman, and mayoral candidate, Don Samuels.
For the record, the president’s hometown — the one he’s avoiding while talking about guns – had one person killed and eight wounded over the weekend.