Connecticut Massacre Presents Fresh Challenge for Obama
12/18/2012, 11:20 a.m.
The huge drawback to the state by state gun action is that it does not significantly limit the massive trafficking in guns across state lines. It also doesn't begin to address the question of how to identify and then prevent the legions of human ticking time bombs that do not have a criminal record and for all intents and purposes appear to be normal functioning individuals from legally purchasing and even stockpiling weapons, and that includes weapons of mass destruction. Ultimately only Congress can pass a uniform federal standard to restrict the manufacture, sale and transport of guns.
This is where the fight begins and unfortunately has quickly ended. The first ending was Congress's failure to reauthorize the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban which expired in 2004. Congress has been virtually mute on any gun curbs in the years since then. This did not mean that gun control bills weren't written and introduced. They were in every Congress session. But not one piece of gun control legislation made it to the House floor. The 112th Congress was no different. None of the proposed gun control curbs even made it out of a house committee.
This in no way means that gun control curbs are dead in the water in perpetuity in Congress. Obama has called tougher gun control laws "common sense." This signals that if there is enough public outcry and push that one or more of the gun control measures could finally make it out of a house or senate committee. Obama is not running for reelection and does not have to look nervously over his shoulder and worry about enraged gun owners raking him over the coals for putting his White House muscle behind one of the bills.
That and the eventual passage of fresh gun restrictions would at least send the right signal that the gun lobby is not invincible and that millions of Americans want and demand anything that will at least potentially head off the next rampage.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is a frequent political commentator on MSNBC and a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on American Urban Radio Network. He is the author of How Obama Governed: The Year of Crisis and Challenge. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KPFK-Radio and the Pacifica Network.
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