President Barack Obama wasted no time blaming guns for the attack on police officers in Dallas Thursday night that has left five law enforcement officers, including one rapid transit officer, dead and several others wounded.
But two major gun rights groups issued a joint statement to the press warning against “any attempt to exploit this hateful crime, which appeared to target police, to press a political agenda that would penalize millions of law-abiding American citizens.”
In remarks earlier today in Poland, Obama called on all Americans to pray for the officers and their families. He also said there is “no justification for these kinds of attacks, or any violence against law enforcement.”
But then he injected a remark about guns: “We also know that when people are armed with powerful weapons, unfortunately it makes attacks like these more deadly and more tragic, and in the days ahead we’re going to have to consider those realities as well.”
But here’s how Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation and chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, reacted:
“The horrific events last night in Dallas should remind us all of the great sacrifices of our law enforcement professionals and their families. We mourn along with all Americans over the senselessness of Thursday night’s mayhem.”
“There can be no justification for this cowardly act, but we are confident there will be justice. At the same time, we abhor any attempt to exploit this hateful crime, which appeared to target police, to press a political agenda that would penalize millions of law-abiding American citizens.
“Make no mistake. The person or persons who did this bear the sole responsibility. We are confident that authorities in Texas will bring the full force of existing law against anyone who was involved in this terrible attack.
“We applaud the calm demeanor of Dallas Police Chief David Brown, who earlier today shared some possible motives for last night’s deplorable crime. If this was some sort of hate crime, that hatred was unleashed against all Americans. We know there are deep divisions in America today. Murder is not the way to solve that, and neither is political exploitation.”
The Dallas attack came in the wake of two high-profile fatal shootings of African-American men, including one who was legally armed at a traffic stop in a St. Paul, Minnesota suburb. Shots were fired during a peaceful protest over those shootings, as marchers walked through downtown Dallas.
According to Dallas Police Chief David Brown, the man killed by police following a lengthy standoff said he was “upset at white people. He said he wanted to kill white people, especially white police officers.”