The Washington Post today has a report that gives me some hope to balance my cynicism over Obama being serious about gun control.
President Obama on Monday began the first serious push of his administration to attempt to reduce gun violence, directing Cabinet members to formulate a set of proposals that could include reinstating a ban on assault rifles.
The effort will be led by Vice President Biden, according to two people outside the government who have spoken to senior administration officials since Friday…The tentative steps ended a paralyzing debate within the administration over how hard to pursue gun-control legislation, which has been a politically perilous issue for many Democrats. There were signs Monday, however, that such fear was abating on the Democratic side of the aisle.
…Obama, who has appeared shaken by the Sandy Hook shootings, met Monday with Biden, who advocated for stricter gun-control measures during his years in the Senate. The president also spoke Monday with Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius “to begin looking at ways the country can respond to the tragedy in Newtown,” according to a White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Others involved in the new effort include White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler; Biden’s chief counsel, Cynthia C. Hogan; and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, who traveled with Obama to Connecticut on Sunday to address a memorial service for the Sandy Hook victims.
I hope this is true. The NRA and other gun lobbyists have even less leverage over a second-term Biden than they do over Obama. After this term, Biden is done with elected office and won’t care if the lobby hates him. Despite being a gun owner himself, he already has an “F” rating from the NRA from his time as a senator and as a nominee; having backed an assault gun ban, closing the gun show and private sales loopholes that let 40% of all firearms in the US be sold without any kind of background check, and against the bill that prohibited liability lawsuits against gun manufacturers for the carnage their products cause. He is a veteran at crafting crime bills, including the Biden Crime Act and the Violence Against Women Act. To my mind, Joe Biden is the ideal person to lead a White House task force on gun control.
Update: BBC News.
US President Barack Obama wants to reinstate an assault weapons ban in the wake of the mass killings in Newtown, Connecticut, his spokesman says.
Jay Carney said the president was “actively supportive” of a Democratic senator’s plan to introduce a bill on the first day of the next Congress.
Mr Obama would also consider curbs on high-capacity ammunition and loopholes, Mr Carney said.
Great, “support” will help but it isn’t enough. Now let’s see some legislation proposed and loudly backed, please!