Obama's Baby Steps toward Gun Control; Killing the Second Amendment by Small Degrees

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Byline: Michael Taube, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

There is a variation of an old joke in Washington political circles about Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. For all his knowledge and experience, the safest public relations strategy is to keep him on a short leash.

When it comes to Mr. Biden and gun control, President Obama may be kicking himself right now for loosening his grip longer than he should have.

The vice president recently participated in a Google+ video hangout about gun violence. Mr. Biden immediately whipped up a media frenzy with this jaw-dropping comment: Guess what? A shotgun will keep you a lot safer - a double-barrel shotgun - than the assault weapon in somebody's hands who doesn't know how to use it. He also said, You know, it's harder to use an assault weapon and hit something than it is to use a shotgun, OK? So if you want to keep people away in an earthquake, buy some shotgun shells.

My guess is Democratic spin doctors were immediately contacted to put out this political fire and craft an airtight response. To their credit, the wordsmiths came up with a good retort. Mr. Biden's loquacious statement simply proves Mr. Obama and leading Democrats believe in the Second Amendment, and support a citizen's right to legally purchase weapons. If the White House had ulterior motives, why would the vice president - who was asked by the president to spearhead a committee to find ways to curb gun violence - praise any type of gun in a public forum?

Don't believe it, though. If anything, this is just the first step in the Democrats' long-term plan to implement gun control.

Consider it from a communications perspective. The terrible shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., were on the level of only a few other tragedies, including Michigan's Bath School disaster in 1927 and the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007. While there have been other terrifying events, such as the Aurora, Colo., theater shooting, few have rattled the American psyche about guns as Newtown has. The 20 children and six adults who lost their lives at Sandy Hook are permanently etched in our memories. …