President Obama and his challenger, Mitt Romney, echoed each other in embracing the role of national grief counselor in the wake of the deadly rampage in Colorado last week, offering stirring words of condolence and comfort.

But neither has responded to calls for a renewed debate over how to prevent gun violence. Asked on Sunday whether Mr. Obama favored new gun control initiatives, his spokesman, Jay Carney, twice said the main focus of the president — who four years ago called for an assault-weapons ban — was to “protect Second Amendment rights.”

“He believes we need to take steps that protect Second Amendment rights of the American people but that ensure that we are not allowing weapons into the hands of individuals who should not, by existing law, obtain those weapons,” Mr. Carney said on Air Force One as the president flew to Colorado to meet with survivors of the mass shooting.

Continue reading →