Speaking for Obama and Romney, Hickenlooper and Walker won’t touch gun control, either

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On Sunday morning, David Gregory tried to coax two governors, acting as surrogates for the Obama and Romney presidential campaigns, to touch on what is effectively a forbidden topic in this election.

"It has struck me that there is not a more robust debate in this campaign about gun violence in America and what to do about that," he said to Govs. John Hickenlooper of Colorado and Scott Walker of Wisconsin.

Both Colorado and Wisconsin had recently endured tragic shootings that made national news, but neither had initiated much in the way of a public discussion about how to curb gun violence.

A question about guns, asked by a Long Islander in the second presidential debate, went laughably unanswered, when both candidates veered into a discussion about the importance of two-parent households.

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Gregory tried a different approach asking if there was a notion that both the federal government and state government "abdicate" the idea that they can prevent it, and wondered if the governors were disappointed by that.

"No," said Hickenlooper. "I think that if you look at some of the weapons that people are using in these senseless attacks, I mean, 12 gauge shotguns, what, there are a hundred and twenty million out there?

"You know, I do worry that some of the cuts that Governor Romney is proposing are going to cut funding in all manner of levels for mental health, I mean, that’s one of the big issues. We’ve got some crazy folks out there that are just completely delusional. We’ve got to be able to identify that sooner and get them into treatment, get them off the street before they do some sort of insane act."

Gregory asked Walker what he thought of that, and why there isn't more of a debate on this issue, with similar results.

"In our case, at least, in the recent tragedy we had in Wisconsin, and I we had a greater focus, I think, that some of the Republicans and Democrats can agree, on a greater focus on tightening up domestic violence laws because that’s where our biggest problem was in our recent tragedy here in the state of Wisconsin," Walker said.

"We need to do more of that," he added. "And that’s something that I think isn't a partisan issue and it’s certainly something that at the federal, at the state and at the local level needs to be highlighted."

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has long argued mayors are the ones who deal most closely with the effects of gun violence, has committed to spending $10 to $15 million on pro-gun control candidates, but it appears that effort might be too late to spark much of a debate on the issue in 2012.

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