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Don't Be Afraid, Mr. President -- You Can Take on the Gun Lobby

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  • Ed Pearl
    Hi. Twelve facts about guns and mass shootings in the United States is an invaluable study just put out by Ezra Klein in the Washington Post. I d send it
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 16, 2012
      Hi. " Twelve facts about guns and mass shootings in the United States" is an
      invaluable study just put out by Ezra Klein in the Washington Post. I'd
      send it to you if it weren't 935 Kilobytes! I urge you to check it out, for
      the amazing graphs alone; at
      - Ed


      Don't Be Afraid, Mr. President -- You Can Take on the Gun Lobby

      Salon/ By Steve Karnacki

      Barack Obama and his party have been too terrified of angering gun owners to
      realize they can win without them.
      December 15, 2012 |


      A grieving President Barack Obama wiped away tears and struggled to compose
      himself Friday as he mourned the dead in the Connecticut school shooting.
      Photo Credit: AFP

      There's no disputing that the Democratic Party has regressed dramatically on
      the issue of gun violence over the past two decades. When a shooting rampage
      on the Long Island Railroad killed six people and injured 19 others in
      December 1993, Bill Clinton responded immediately by calling
      <http://www.salon.com/2012/07/23/barack_obama_bill_clinton_and_guns/> for
      specific legislative action to prevent future tragedies. Contrast that with
      the response <http://www.businessinsider.com/obama-gun-control-2012-12> of
      White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Friday to a question about whether
      the carnage in Connecticut might prompt President Obama to pursue gun
      control measures. "I'm sure there will be another day for discussion of the
      usual Washington policy debates," Carney said, "but I don't think today is
      that day."

      It can be hard to remember now, but well into the 1990s, national Democrats
      proudly associated themselves with gun control, championing laws that
      restricted access to deadly weapons. Under Clinton, the Brady Bill, which
      mandated a five-day waiting period for the purchase of handgun, was passed,
      and so was a ban on assault weapons. The 1996 Democratic Convention that
      nominated Clinton for a second term featured Jim and Sarah Brady as
      primetime speakers.

      The years since then, however, have been marked by a steady and thus far
      enduring Democratic retreat on the issue, with the Second Amendment crowd
      now largely dictating the terms of public discussion and Democrats mainly
      trying to avoid their wrath. Consider Obama's record on guns, which includes
      anded-not-reduced-gun-rights/> achievement : a law making it easier to carry
      concealed weapons in national parks.

      While the violent crime rate that fed the gun control zeal of the '90s is
      much lower today, horrifying mass shootings seem to be on the rise. Six of
      the 12 deadliest sprees in American history have
      > taken place just since 2007. In his own remarks Friday, delivered a few
      hours after Carney's, Obama seemed to hint that the latest deadly outburst
      might actually shake him and his party from their defensive crouch on guns.
      "[W]e're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to
      prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of politics," the president

      What that means is anyone's guess right now. It appears that the Connecticut
      killer used several weapons, at
      shooting-seen-on-chicago-streets.html> least one of which would be illegal
      if the assault weapons ban - which the Republican Congress refused to
      reauthorize in 2004 - were still in effect. Obama is on the record
      supporting the ban's reinstatement; might he now demand action? Or will he
      pursue other policy changes? Or maybe he'll just end up doing what leaders
      of his party have done for more than a decade now: nothing.
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