Politics

12.19.12

Obama's Guns Task Force

Appointing a task force on guns seems a little mealy-mouthed to me. Obama is putting Joe Biden in charge, and this is the kind of thing that a former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee just might be able to do with aplomb, but still...Strike while the iron is hot, sez I.

Obama's style is to be deliberative, gather evidence. It's a lot better than shooting from the hip on general principle. But sometimes there's a public mood out just waiting to be caught and exploited before it dissipates and before the opponents can confuse and redirect it.

Right now, there is an opportunity to make a very simple and straightforward statement: We need far, far tougher regulations on the kinds of guns that exist only to kill large numbers of human beings very quickly, and the ammunition that goes in them. We're not talking hunting rifles here at all, or single-action handguns. We mean military-style weapons that you'd never take out into the wilderness to hunt a deer. For those weapons and their ammunition--extensive and rigorous background checks, strict rules about how they're kept in the home, certifications and recertifications; whatever.

That's a bright line and something that's easy for everyone to understand--and something that I'd wager roughly 80 percent of Americans would support doing right now. He might still have his task force to decide what the exact regulations should be, but I think he should announce the goal. Get public opinion on his side for a specific action while the support is strongest.

Meanwhile, the NRA announces a major press conference coming Friday at which, it is said, the groiup will "offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again." Such as:

On Tuesday’s edition of the NRA’s nightly online news show, host Ginny Simone called the 1994 assault weapons ban “a ban we all know was a failed experiment from the start.”

“What we need to do is stop making schools magnets for mass murderers like Adam Lanza,” Simone said while introducing an interview with Dave Kopel of the Independence Institute. Kopel and Simone then discussed Connecticut’s existing gun laws and how they failed to prevent Newtown and called for more school employees to be armed.

Great. Are they really seriously going to say that more guns is the answer we need? Let them. They'll be laughed out of town.