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Pro gun senators say it's time for gun control

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by da1, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. da1

    da1 Member

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    Pro-Gun Democrats Signaling Openness to LimitsBy JENNIFER STEINHAUER and CHARLIE SAVAGE
    Published: December 17, 2012

    WASHINGTON — Demonstrating rapidly shifting attitudes toward gun control in the aftermath of a massacre in a Connecticut school, many pro-gun Congressional Democrats — including Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader and a longstanding gun rights supporter — signaled an openness Monday to new restrictions on guns.

    White House officials remained vague and noncommittal about how President Obama would translate into action his soaring rhetoric Sunday in Newtown, when he appeared to presage an effort to curb access to guns. But many Democrats, including several from conservative states, said Congress should take up the issue next year, and one Senate chairman promised hearings.

    Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, an advocate of gun rights who drew attention in 2010 by running a commercial that showed him firing a rifle into a piece of legislation serving as a target, said “everything should be on the table” as gun control is debated in the coming weeks and months.

    The receptiveness to new gun laws from figures like Mr. Manchin suggested the National Rifle Association, long one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington, would face a strong test of its influence in the coming months if it sought to fend off tougher restrictions. Leaders of the organization have declined interview requests since the shootings, the group’s Twitter account has gone silent, and it has deactivated its Facebook page.

    As the criminal inquiry proceeded, investigators studying a computer taken from the house of the Connecticut gunman, Adam Lanza, said it was so badly damaged that they were not optimistic that they would be able to get any information from it, a law enforcement official said Monday.

    The Federal Bureau of Investigation, which has more expertise in computer forensics than Connecticut’s state forensic laboratory, has been part of the effort to recover data from the computer, the official said.

    A federal law enforcement official said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had determined that Mr. Lanza and his mother, Nancy Lanza, visited firing ranges together and separately in recent years, with one known occasion of their going together. It was not clear whether they had both fired weapons on that visit.

    The White House offered no elaboration on Monday of the president’s thinking or the options he would consider; it tried to tamp down expectations of quick action.

    In part, that reflected the complicated politics of gun control, as the president’s advisers weighed whether the horror of Newtown had changed the dynamics in Washington enough to make possible measures that were earlier deemed very unlikely to pass.

    And in part, that reflected the reality that the president and his top aides are consumed with negotiating a potentially landmark budget bargain with Congressional Republicans to head off a fiscal crisis at the end of the year.

    On Monday afternoon, Mr. Obama met with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and three cabinet officials — Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.; Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services; and Arne Duncan, the education secretary — to “begin looking at ways the country can respond to the tragedy in Newtown,” an administration official said.

    The official declined to give specifics on the state of the discussions other than to say “the work will continue.”

    Several people familiar with the deliberations at the White House in recent days said the administration, for now, was pursuing a strategy of taking time to develop a holistic response that could potentially be announced all at once, an executive order and a legislative proposal, rather than rushing to put out an executive order alone.

    The thinking behind that approach, they said, was that the actions the president could take by himself — ordering federal agencies like the Social Security Administration to provide information to the background check system when benefits recipients have been deemed mentally ill or when employees and job applicants fail drug tests — would have only a minor impact relative to things that Congress could do, and that issuing such an order by itself could reduce momentum for greater action.

    “It’s a complex problem that will require a complex solution,” the president’s spokesman, Jay Carney, said in a news conference on Monday. “I don’t have a specific agenda to point you to today.”

    On Capitol Hill, Democrats made it clear that they were ready to consider changes after years of pointedly avoiding fights over gun laws lest they face adverse political consequences in swing states and districts.

    Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, who has the strong backing of the N.R.A., said Monday that there should be “stricter rules on the books” regarding guns, and he called the school shootings “a game changer.”

    Representative Joe Donnelly of Indiana, who will join the Senate in January and has long advocated a strong pro-gun agenda, said in an e-mail on Monday that “all parties must come to the table” to ponder legislation.

    Representative John A. Yarmuth, a moderate Democrat from Kentucky, said he had been “largely silent on the issue of gun violence over the past six years,” adding, “I am now as sorry for that as I am for what happened to the families who lost so much in this most recent, but sadly not isolated, tragedy.”

    Senator Reid, who has long viewed control efforts as a political liability for his party, said, “In the coming days and weeks, we will engage in a meaningful conversation and thoughtful debate about how to change laws and culture that allow violence to grow.”

    Democrats seemed to be hoping to seize on the momentum from the shooting, in which 20 first graders were killed, and the resulting outrage and despondency of millions of Americans, to gingerly build a coalition of lawmakers who might be able to create some form of compromise limits on gun sales or types.

    The swift and decisive tone of lawmakers like Mr. Manchin, Mr. Reid and other gun rights supporters in Congress differed notably from reactions after other recent shootings.

    Some lawmakers will introduce bills to reinstate a ban on assault weapons, and restrictions on high-capacity ammunition clips are expected to surface during the continuing lame duck session or, more likely, in the 113th Congress, which begins in January.

    Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, who has resisted some tighter gun laws, said on the Senate floor Monday that his committee would hold hearings next year “to help in the search for understanding and answers.”

    Senator Dianne Feinstein of California has said she will introduce legislation that would reinstate a ban on the sale and possession of large clips of ammunition. Mr. Reid supports the efforts and has indicated to some Democrats he would seek floor time for her measure. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, Democrat of New Jersey, said he would reintroduce his high-capacity magazine ban legislation in January.

    Many Congressional Republicans would almost certainly balk at any effort to impose major new restrictions on gun sales and ownership. A spokesman for Senator Marco Rubio of Florida said Mr. Rubio “remains a strong supporter of the Second Amendment right to safely and responsibly bear arms, but he has also always been open to measures that would keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.”

    Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, on Monday echoed Mr. Obama in praising the “self-sacrificing love” of those school staff members who tried to protect the attacked children. Mr. McConnell made no mention of the role of Congress.

    Despite pressure to move quickly, the White House is gambling that it can wait awhile, possibly until the new year, and still have enough political momentum from the anger and grief over the shootings to overcome deep opposition to gun control. “It’s hard to imagine people in any near term somehow forgetting the rawness of what happened on Friday,” Mr. Carney said.

    But others were not so sure. Other mass shootings have prompted waves of grief and resolve to take action, only to fade in relatively short order. Some advocates of gun control, like Joseph A. Califano Jr., a former adviser to President Lyndon B. Johnson and cabinet secretary under President Jimmy Carter, suggested that Mr. Obama had just a brief opportunity to press his case while public attention was focused on television images of children clutching teddy bears.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/18/u...nness-to-limits.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0&ref=us
     
  2. pirc1

    pirc1 Contributing Member

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    Good luck with that, I doubt we will get any real reform that really changes things around.
     
  3. Nook

    Nook Member

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    Pushing for gun control at this time would be a huge waste of political capital.
     
  4. DonkeyMagic

    DonkeyMagic Contributing Member
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    this deserved a new thread...
     
  5. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member

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    'Political Capital'?

    Rocket River
     
  6. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

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    It's easy for pro-gun Democrats to flip-flop, especially right after an election. Wake me up when a Republican agrees with them. I also am very skeptical that Obama wants to do anything tangible here, since it'd probably derail all his plans (unless taking away our guns was his plan the whole time!).
     
  7. Major

    Major Member

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    Agreed. None of this matters until you have GOPers saying this.
     
  8. NewRoxFan

    NewRoxFan Contributing Member

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    And good luck with that... GOPers valuing the lives of 20 school kids over the desires of their NRA masters?
     
  9. Svpernaut

    Svpernaut Contributing Member

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    No, they value the opinions of their constituents who are overwhelmingly pro-gun.
     
  10. NewRoxFan

    NewRoxFan Contributing Member

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    I believe you are simply repeating what I said earlier:

     
  11. Nook

    Nook Member

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    Yes.... do you want some water downed gun control legislation or do you want tax reforms, immigration reform, etc.
     
  12. Svpernaut

    Svpernaut Contributing Member

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    A politician changing their stance after something tragic happens? They're certainly not trying to capitalize on the tragedy are they?
     
  13. Space Ghost

    Space Ghost Contributing Member

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    Misleading title. We already have gun control.

    Appropriate title: senators say its time to take away more gun rights in the wake of media sensationalism.
     
  14. basso

    basso Contributing Member
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    i think we should institute a complete ban on the sale of guns

    to Mexican drug gangs.
     
  15. bigtexxx

    bigtexxx Contributing Member

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    post of the day.

    well done
     
  16. magnetik

    magnetik Contributing Member

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  17. Deji McGever

    Deji McGever יליד טקסני

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    I tried to rep Nook...and couldn't. I agree that gun control is not the subject to spend political capital on.

    I also agree with Space Ghost that gun control already exists. Contrary to SamFisher's argument that the subject is not binary, one of the main problems with the gun control debate is that the majority of people well-informed about firearms in general and the laws that regulate them are people who already own them. And the majority of people who are squeamish about gun ownership and propose laws the loudest to limit them in some way would prefer to have none at all.

    I also agree with JuanValdez and Major that Harry Reid nodding to party discipline is hardly news.

    I think the real issue is mental health, and the fact that it, like preventative medical treatment, is sorely lacking. A depressed person might go Hemingway and kill themselves in a lonely field, but the sort of broken psyche that shoots up a kindergarten stems from something far more fundamentally wrong. A guy like this should have been screened a long time ago and given the treatment and scrutiny he needed.

    I'm fine with gun ownership being a right -- I just think access to health care, including mental healthcare, should be one as well.
     

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