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Monday, July 23, 2012

CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing Infers More Control Would Stop Mass Shootings

That is the take away from this comment and subsequent commentary in today's CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing:
STATUS QUO: The nation got its first glimpse of the suspected movie theater mass murderer a few minutes ago, when James Holmes walked into a Colorado courtroom to hear the charges against him. His prosecution is expected to take months. But at no time during that process will Congress come even remotely close to taking any action designed to prevent such massacres.
You see, even though both presidential candidates have a history of supporting gun control, no one has the guts to take on the NRA.
Obama was a gun control advocate as a state legislator and an Illinois senator. As a candidate four years ago he called for reinstating the assault weapons ban, and after Giffords was almost gunned down last year he promised to propose legislation that would “keep those irresponsible, law-breaking few from getting their hands on a gun in the first place.” But he has never fulfilled that promise, and yesterday the White House made abundantly clear that no such proposal was coming. “We need to take steps that protect Second Amendment rights of the American people but that ensure that we are not allowing weapons into the hands of individuals who should not, by existing law, obtain those weapons,” Jay Carney said as the president flew to Colorado to visit with families of many of the victims of Friday's Batman-movie melee. “The president’s view is that we can take steps to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them under existing law. And that’s his focus right now.”
Mitt Romney doesn't escape critisim either.
Mitt Romney also has evolved on gun control. As a Senate candidate in 1994 he said he didn’t want the backing of the gun rights lobby, and as governor of Massachusetts he signed legislation to indefinitely extend a ban on assault weapons sales in the state. He also came out for a waiting period for gun purchases. But as a presidential candidate this year he told the NRA essentially the same thing as what the president’s spokesman said yesterday: “We need a president who will enforce current laws, not create new ones that only serve to burden lawful gun owners.”

To it's credit, Roll Call does note that it's not like Congress is ignoring a public outcry for more gun control.
In part, recent polling supports that reticence; in the most recent annual Gallup poll on the topic, 55 percent said the laws should stay the same or be made more lenient, while 43 percent said gun control should be intensified (that's a 35 percentage point drop in two decades).
Former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff had it right when he told Meet the Press yesterday thatwhen it comes to incidents like the Aurora shooting "the problem here is with the people and not with the tools."

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