Obama's 2013 priorities -- and Guns
President Obama, in his year-end interview on "Meet the Press" recently, was asked what his priorities were for the first year of his second term. He listed four: immigration reform, stabilizing the economy through debt reduction and infrastructure repair, generating more energy production, and protecting the middle class from higher taxes.
Only when he was pressed by the moderator,
Gregory pointedly asked Obama, "Do you have the stomach for the political fight for new gun-control laws?" Obama said he has always supported the banning of assault weapons, multiple-bullet clips and cartridges, and background checks on their purchasers, and that he continued to do so. He added, "(T)he question is: are we going to be able to have a national conversation and move something through
As to the proposal of
The president said he intended to "call in all the stakeholders together," Republicans and Democrats, "anybody" including a "vast majority of responsible gun owners ... who recognize that we can't have a situation in which somebody with severe psychological problems" can get the kinds of assault weapons used in
He did not specify whether those "stakeholders" would include LaPierre and other NRA members who have already made up their minds that, in their favorite slogan, "guns don't kill people, people do." The fact is that the "national conversation" Obama hopes to stir has been going on for years and has been intensified anew by the Newton tragedy.
Only days after that attack, the "conversation" took on added urgency when an apparently deranged man in upstate
The notion of a comprehensive response to the gun mayhem is fine, including further examination of the need for more and better treatment for the mentally disturbed who might get their hands on mass-murder weapons. Obama also cited
As for his own sense of urgency, the president said of the
Beyond Biden's history in the fight for stronger gun control, he brings passion and an open willingness to take on the NRA that Obama, for all his demonstrated empathy for the victims, has not seemed to convey.
A former president, Democrat
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