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McCain: Gun ruling, a 'landmark victory'

From NBC/NJ's Matthew E. Berger

CINCINNATI, Ohio -- McCain called the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on the D.C. gun ban a "landmark victory for Second Amendment freedom" and said Obama has reversed his positions on guns.
 
Speaking on his bus before making a stop at Skyline Chili, McCain acknowledged the amicus brief he filed in the case and said he was "pleased with the ruling." But he said Obama has changed his positions on gun control.
 

VIDEO: In a landmark ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court has reaffirmed the right for individuals to own firearms, striking down Washington D.C.'s ban on handguns. NBC's Pete Williams reports.

"All I can say it's one in a long, in a long series in reversals of positions," McCain said. "In a few days he has gone from opposing nuclear power, to not a proponent, to willing to explore. I fully anticipate -- whether it be on his pledge on public financing or his position on the Second Amendment, or any other issues -- he is changing his positions. So it's not surprising."
 
Obama released the following statement on the Supreme Court's ruling: "I have always believed that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to bear arms, but I also identify with the need for crime-ravaged communities to save their children from the violence that plagues our streets through common-sense, effective safety measures. The Supreme Court has now endorsed that view, and while it ruled that the D.C. gun ban went too far, Justice Scalia himself acknowledged that this right is not absolute and subject to reasonable regulations enacted by local communities to keep their streets safe. Today's ruling, the first clear statement on this issue in 127 years, will provide much-needed guidance to local jurisdictions across the country. 

"As President, I will uphold the constitutional rights of law-abiding gun-owners, hunters, and sportsmen. I know that what works in Chicago may not work in Cheyenne. We can work together to enact common-sense laws, like closing the gun show loophole and improving our background check system, so that guns do not fall into the hands of terrorists or criminals. Today's decision reinforces that if we act responsibly, we can both protect the constitutional right to bear arms and keep our communities and our children safe."

McCain made his comments before attending a weekly town-hall meeting, which he has invited Obama to join. He spoke today at the town hall at Xavier University before a backdrop featuring the preamble to the Constitution -- "We the People" -- and the images of an American flag and the Statue of Liberty.
 
In a written statement, McCain took a swipe at comments Obama made about gun owners in Pennsylvania, suggesting that Americans cling to religion or guns because of financial hardship.
 
"Unlike the elitist view that believes Americans cling to guns out of bitterness, today's ruling recognizes that gun ownership is a fundamental right -- sacred, just as the right to free speech and assembly," he said.
 
In a conference call with reporters, McCain supporter Sen. Sam Brownback went further.
 
"This is either an incredible flip flop or incredible inexperience on this issue," Brownback said. "Anybody whose been around politics in Washington D.C. knows the center of this gun ban debate is whether this is an individual right."
 
And Brownback suggested Obama could next change positions on Iraq.
 
"The next thing you may see Sen. Obama move on is Iraq," he said. "With the news coming out about the surge and its successfulness, I think you're going to see that move take place."
 
McCain also spoke on the North Korea agreement, saying there are still questions about plutonium and Syrian facilities.
 
"And so my overall impression is we should be very cautious as I said a number of times in the past," he said. "But I'll be very interested in hearing all the details of the administrations new position.  Its an evolving situation."