Gun Controllers Don't Want to Waste Tucson Tragedy

By Hoar, William P. | The New American, April 18, 2011 | Go to article overview

Gun Controllers Don't Want to Waste Tucson Tragedy


Hoar, William P., The New American


ITEM: President Obama wrote in the Arizona Daily Star for March 13 about the mass shooting that had taken place in Tucson two months previously in a piece headlined, "We must seek agreement on gun reform." He said that after the attack, in which 19 were shot, "Americans by and large rightly refrained from finger-pointing, assigning blame or playing politics with other people's pain."

The President called for an end to "gun violence" and expressed apparent wonderment that a man "our Army rejected as unfit for service " who had been thought "unstable" in college "was able to walk into a store and buy a gun."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Said Obama: "Now, like the majority of Americans, I believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. And the courts have settled that as the law of the land. In this country, we have a strong tradition of gun ownership that's handed from generation to generation. Hunting and. shooting are part of our national heritage. And, in fact, my administration has not curtailed the rights of gun owners--it has expanded them, including allowing people to carry their guns in national parks and wildlife refuges."

As a society, he said, "we have a responsibility to do everything we can to put a stop " to gun violence. Some, he went on, "aren't interested in participating. Some will say that anything short of the most sweeping anti-gun legislation is a capitulation to the gun lobby. Others will predictably cast any discussion as the opening salvo in a wild-eyed scheme to take away everybody's guns."

ITEM: Newsweek for March 13 said that "it's clear that the present moment may be peculiar enough, and the forces at work potent enough, to produce real movement on gun safety--provided Obama proceeds carefully." There are "signs of hope," maintained Newsweek, in "proposed laws" that "emphasize how preventable Tucson really was. In the House, New York Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, whose husband was killed in a 1993 mass shooting on a Long Island train, has introduced. a bill seeking to reinstate the prohibition on high-capacity clips that took effect in 1994 but lapsed when the assault-weapons ban expired 10 years later."

ITEM: E.J. Dionne, Jr., in the Washington Post, decried that the President "practically begged the gun lobby to support modest reforms of our lax gun laws"--not even "asking for a ban on those large gun magazines, which, would almost certainly have saved lives on that January day." The President, Dionne counseled, "could set a good example by standing up to the bullies of the NRA."

CORRECTION: If there is one thing that the President does well, it is to read the polls. Many in his camp would prefer all-out and immediate confiscation of firearms, but the public, thankfully, knows better. One recent national poll found that an overwhelming 75 percent of voters believes that gun laws in the United States are either adequate or too harsh for law-abiding Americans. Accordingly, even those politicians who believe that the right to arms is outmoded tread carefully lest the electorate turn on them.

Still, the fact that Rahm Emanuel has moved from running the inside game at the White House to running Chicago as its Mayor doesn't mean that the administration has abandoned the celebrated Emanuel doctrine of never letting a crisis go to waste. What is widely seen as a tragedy, gun-grabbers view as an opportunity.

Enter the opportunists. As has been admitted in the very liberal online site Huffington Post, the White House is seeking to impose restrictions in a piecemeal fashion that takes into account the current political makeup in Washington. An article called "Obama Looking for Ways Around Congress on Gun Policy" noted that the "Obama administration is exploring potential changes to gun laws that can be secured strictly through executive action, administration officials say."

As to the President's rebuke of those who are worried that new gun laws are merely vehicles to be used by gun grabbers and his claim that no one was vilified by political factions after the Tucson shooting, the President's memory, one gathers, is mighty short when it comes to recalling how so many of his allies were frantically pointing fingers after the incident. …

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