Iowa Fright: Obama Says If Michelle Lived There, She'd 'Probably Want a Gun, Too'

Susan Jones | April 4, 2013 | 6:32am EDT
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President Barack Obama, sitting next to Denver Police Chief Robert White, participates in a meeting at the Denver Police Academy in Denver, Colo., with local law enforcement officials and community leaders to discuss the state's new measures to reduce gun violence, Wednesday, April 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

( - First Lady Michelle Obama, who grew up in the violent and murder-plagued City of Chicago, apparently found rural Iowa to be a scary place, even though its murder rate is much lower than that in Chicago, where Mrs. Obama grew up.

Making a pitch for gun control in Denver on Wednesday, President Obama shared two "conversations" he's had on that topic, including this one with his wife:

"The first conversation was when Michelle came back from doing some campaigning out in rural Iowa. And we were sitting at dinner and she had been to, you know, a big country -- a lot of driving out there, a lot of farmland.

"And she says, 'You know, if I was living out in a farm in Iowa, I'd -- I'd probably want a gun too; (She) said, somebody just drives up into your driveway, and you're not home, you don't know who these people are and you don't know how long it's going to take for the sheriffs to respond. And I can see why you -- you'd want some guns for protection.'"

For the record, in 2011, 46 people were murdered in the entire State of Iowa, which had a population of 3,062,309. That works out to 1.50 murders per 100,000 population. In that same year, 433 people were murdered in the City of Chicago, which had a population of 2,707,120. That's 15.99 murders per 100,000 population.

President Obama told his audience in Denver that his second conversation was with a mother from Evanston, a Chicago suburb, who son had been killed in a "random shooting."

"And she said, you know, I hate it when people tell me that my son was shot because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was in the right place. He was on his way to school. He wasn't in the wrong place. He was exactly where he was supposed to be."

Obama indicated that his two conversations reflect two sides of the gun debate: "Sometimes we're so divided between rural and urban and folks who -- whose hunting is part of their lives; and folks whose only experience with guns is street crime. And the two sides just talk past one another.

"And more than anything, what I want to just emphasize is there are good people on both sides of this thing, but we have to be able to put ourselves in the other person's shoes. If you're a hunter, if you're a sportsman, if you have a gun in your house for protection, you've got to understand what it feels like for that mom whose son was randomly shot. And if you live in an urban area and you're worried about street crime, you got to understand what it might be like if you grew out on a ranch and your dad had been taking you hunting all your life."

Obama also said people who oppose "common-sense" gun control have "ginned up fears among responsible gun owners," making them suspicious of government.

"You hear some of these quotes: 'I need a gun to protect myself from the government; we can't do background checks because the government's going to come take my guns away.' The government's us," Obama asserted. "These officials are elected by you. (Applause.) They are elected by you. I am elected by you. I am constrained, as they are constrained, by a system that our founders put in place. This is a government of and by and for the people."

Obama said the nation needs to "get past some of the rhetoric...that breaks down trust and is so over the top that it just shuts down all discussion."

Get the facts, Obama said: "We're not proposing a gun registration system; we're proposing background checks for criminals."

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