Obama’s Specific Gun Control Plan

bho…Obama’s pledge today to pursue sustained action to combat gun control violence was a very important moment, and demonstrates what presidential leadership on this issue is supposed to look like.

No question, meaningful gun law reform still faces major obstacles. And all of our leaders — Obama included — have badly failed to lead on this in the past. But neither of those things diminishes the significance of his statements today. Here’s why they mattered:

1) Obama didn’t take refuge in generalities; he staked out very specific policy goals that need to be achieved. He voiced support for banning the sale of military style assault weapons and high capacity magazine clips, and for requiring background checks before “all” gun purchases. He called these “proposals that I intend to push without delay,” adding: “this is not some Washington commission.” He tasked his Vice President to draw up ways to accomplish these goals, and also called for a Congressional vote on them in January. That means Obama understands the need not to let public sentiment dissipate on the issue, and for a specific time frame for legislative action.

2) Obama moved quickly to claim the sensible middle ground in this debate. He stressed that polls show majority support for the specific gun reforms outlined above. He made it clear that they are not incompatible with either the Second Amendment or America’s “tradition of gun ownership,” and noted that he believed that even most gun owners would…


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