Dear Commons Community,
In an historic attempt to stem the increase in gun violence, President Barack Obama unveiled yesterday the most sweeping effort at gun control policy reform ever seen in this country.
“The proposal, which comes at the end of a month-long review process spearheaded by Vice President Joe Biden, is broken down into four key subsections: law enforcement, the availability of dangerous firearms and ammunition, school safety and mental health.
In an effort to touch on all four of those elements, the president recommended requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales; reinstating the assault weapons ban; restoring a 10-round limit on ammunition magazines; eliminating armor-piercing bullets; providing mental health services in schools; allocating funds to hire more police officers; and instituting a federal gun trafficking statute, among other policies. The cost of the package, senior officials estimated, would be roughly $500 million, some of which could come from already budgeted funds.
Because these recommendations require congressional approval, the administration is supplementing its proposal with 23 executive actions that will be taken immediately. Those actions include requiring federal agencies to hand over relevant data for a background check system; providing law enforcement officials, first responders and school officials with better training for active shooting situations; directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence; and many more.”
The reactions to the President’s proposals were swift and personal
The NRA and a number of federal, state and local official have signaled that they will try to block the administration’s effort.
“It is unfortunate that this administration continues to insist on pushing failed solutions to our nation’s most pressing problems,” the NRA said after meeting with Biden last week. “We will not allow law-abiding gun owners to be blamed for the acts of criminals and madmen.”
The group continued its offensive this week, launching an advertising campaign attacking Obama as an “elitist hypocrite” for opposing the NRA’s widely-criticized proposal, made after the Newtown, Conn. shooting, to place armed guards in all of the nation’s schools. One NRA television ad asks:
“Are the president’s kids more important than yours?…Then why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools when his kids are protected by armed guards at their schools?”
This is just the beginning of what is sure to be a major political battle for months and years to come. It is long overdue.