Unburdened by re-election worries and empowered by law to act without Congress, U.S. President Barack Obama could take action to improve background checks on gun buyers, ban certain gun imports and bolster oversight of dealers…
Christopher Schroeder, who ran the Justice Department’s review, said it looked at possible legislation to send to Congress as well as action the administration could take itself.
“You always look at both, because if you can do it administratively it’s certainly a less involved process,” said Schroeder, who has since returned to a professorship at Duke Law School.
After years of arguing that Democrats should be willing to bear the political costs — lost votes in the South, in particular — of gun control measures, advocates Saturday began cautiously to make a different case. Gun control leaders and other progressive figures told BuzzFeed that, whether or not Democrats can get new legislation through Congress, they should be winning elections on the issue of guns…
“For the first time in decades, Republicans are losing on social issues — they’re losing on same-sex marriage, they’re losing on contraception, and now they could lose on guns because their position is so intractable,” said Kessler. “Except for a vocal minority, people know and expect that something can be done.”
“It’s not that Democrats could do it and make some political gains,” added Mike Lux, founder of the consulting firm Progressive Strategies, and a former aide to President Bill Clinton. “It’s that they have to do it. It’s not only the base, it’s now the American people. They better damn well do it, or people will say what on earth is going on.”
The White House is looking at various options, and the scope and details of the president’s approach aren’t clear. One possibility likely to be considered is a ban on high-capacity magazines, the devices attached to firearms that store large numbers of bullets and reload them rapidly.
A 1994 ban on assault weapons that expired in 2004 included a ban on ammunition magazines that held more than 10 rounds. Recent shootings, including the one Friday, have involved firearms with much more capacity, allowing a shooter to fire many more shots before having to reload, which could allow someone to intervene…
No White House proposal is imminent, and it remains to be seen whether it would be legislative or administrative and how hard the president would push for any legislative initiative.
And yet those who study mass shootings say they are not becoming more common.
“There is no pattern, there is no increase,” says criminologist James Allen Fox of Boston’s Northeastern University, who has been studying the subject since the 1980s, spurred by a rash of mass shootings in post offices.
The random mass shootings that get the most media attention are the rarest, Fox says. Most people who die of bullet wounds knew the identity of their killer.
Society moves on, he says, because of our ability to distance ourselves from the horror of the day, and because people believe that these tragedies are “one of the unfortunate prices we pay for our freedoms.”
The usual argument on this point is “we need to ramp up our mental health efforts,” but that’s easier said than done. And what we’re really talking about is involuntary detainment and observation of people if they are deemed threatening by “odd behavior.” If you think seeking therapy and mental health treatment is stigmatized now, wait until the government can easily access your mental health records without your consent to determine if you’re a threat to society.
You’ll hear an argument about arming teachers, a solution that has its own problems, among them that the security at any given school will depend upon A) teachers willing to carry weapons in their classrooms and B) their ability to control a firearm at all times. The first time a teacher forgets and leaves their gun where a student can touch it, that whole policy will become the newest scapegoat.
I’m not sure that school security is really the right focus, because most schools, with their press-the-buzzer-to-enter, check in at the front office, closed-circuit television cameras, and so on, are not built to stop a determined murderer with multiple guns. Few facilities in our country are. And to be honest, I’m not quite sure I want to rearrange every school in America to be a fortress, designed to stop a determined murderer with multiple guns; the result would be the mass “TSA-ization” of American life.
Even with Friday’s killing, 2012 will see fewer homicides at school than the typical year when I was in middle school, according to FBI data. And the data suggest that Newtown was a terrible aberration. The trend since the early-to-mid-1990s is distinctly downward…
Conservatives, eager to look for a solution aside from gun control, have begun speaking vaguely about “mental health.” Our culture, and maybe our government, could do more to address the issue. But where is this line of argument heading? Simply more funding? There’s no correlation between education spending and educational achievement. Should we expect government mental health programs to fare differently than government education programs?
Or, when we speak of “doing something about mental health,” are we talking about closer surveillance of those who might have mental illness? Or do some want government to pre-emptively detain those deemed mentally disturbed? That ought to worry civil libertarians on both the Left and Right.
What if there is nobody or nothing to blame for Adam Lanza’s heinous acts? Other than Lanza, of course…
What if it’s too simple to lay the massacre at the feet of the gun lobby? Reader Larry Kelly tweets that shaming Aspies “makes about as much sense at stigmatizing the NRA. Pick an enemy … any enemy. Let outrage and fear rule.”
What if Lanza wasn’t provoked by video games? David Axelrod, a close friend an adviser of President Obama, tweeted last night: “In NFL post-game: an ad for shoot ’em up video game. All for curbing weapons of war. But shouldn’t we also quit marketing murder as a game.”…
What if Lanza’s mother did everything she could, short of keeping her guns out her adult son’s reach? What if he wasn’t bullied?
What if there is nobody or nothing to blame? Would that make this inexplicable horror unbearable?
And don’t say that it won’t make a difference because crazies will always be able to get a gun. We’re not going to eliminate gun deaths, any more than we have eliminated auto accidents. But if we could reduce gun deaths by one-third, that would be 10,000 lives saved annually.
Likewise, don’t bother with the argument that if more people carried guns, they would deter shooters or interrupt them. Mass shooters typically kill themselves or are promptly caught, so it’s hard to see what deterrence would be added by having more people pack heat. There have been few if any cases in the United States in which an ordinary citizen with a gun stopped a mass shooting.
The tragedy isn’t one school shooting, it’s the unceasing toll across our country. More Americans die in gun homicides and suicides in six months than have died in the last 25 years in every terrorist attack and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.
For once I agree with liberals. It’s high time to have a conversation about guns. Let’s start with the problem that there are far too few guns on our streets.
Wait, we can’t have that conversation. In fact, we’re not supposed to have what people might commonly describe as a “conversation” at all. We’re supposed to shut-up and listen as liberals, barely masking their unseemly delight at the opportunity, try to pin the murder rampage of one degenerate creep on millions of law-abiding Americans who did nothing wrong. The conversation is then supposed to end with us waiving our fundamental right to self-defense.
Because that is what the goal is – a total ban on the private ownership of firearms. There’s always another “common sense” gun law which fails because it is targeted at law-abiding citizens and not criminals, thereby inviting another round of onerous new restrictions until finally no citizen is keeping or bearing anything more than a dull butter knife…
Here’s the fact – bad people are going to have guns. And if you’ve ever smoked a joint, you are disqualified from arguing that prohibition works.
“You need Wayne LaPierre or one of those guys to come to the White House meeting, and if they won’t come, the president invites them to the televised meeting, and they won’t come to say their piece in public, they should be shamed into it, and assaulted, one of the terms they like, for their lack of patriotism.”
Click the image to watch.
Click the image to watch.
“I just have to say, your position completely boggles me, honestly. I just do not understand it.”