Tough Path Seen by Obama on Ban of Assault Weapons

National Rifle Association (NRA)While President Barack Obama pledged to crack down on access to what he called “weapons of war” in the aftermath of last month’s schoolhouse massacre, the White House has calculated that a ban on military-style assault weapons will be exceedingly difficult to pass through Congress and is focusing on other measures it deems more politically achievable. As a task force led by Vice President Biden Jr. readies recommendations on reducing gun violence for delivery to president next week, officials say a new ban will be an element of whatever final package is proposed. But given the entrenched opposition from the gun rights groups and their advocates on Capitol Hill, the White House is trying to avoid making its passage the sole definition of success and is emphasizing other new gun rules could conceivably win bipartisan support and reduce gun deaths. During a day of White House meetings on issue on Thursday, including one with National Rifle Association, Biden focused publicly on universal background checks for gun purchases and the need for more federal research on gun violence. In 15 minutes of public remarks, Joseph Biden Jr. made no mention of curbing the production and sale of assault weapons, even though he was a prime author of such a law passed in 1994 and expired 10 years later. Both he and the president say they strongly support an assault weapons ban. But Mr. Biden noted that his former colleagues in the Senate have long been “pretty universally opposed to any restrictions on gun ownership or what type of weapons can be purchased.” He said they now seem more open to limits on the purchase of high-capacity magazines. A spokesman for Mr. Obama said later in the afternoon the vice president’s remarks merely reflect a desire for a broad approach to gun violence. “President Obama has been clear Congress should reinstate assault weapons ban and that avoiding this issue just because it’s been politically difficult in the past is not an option,” said Matt Lehrich, the spokesman. “He’s also stressed that no single piece of legislation alone can solve this problem, which is why he has asked Vice President Biden to explore a wide array of proposals on topics ranging from gun laws to mental health to school safety”. The calculation on the assault weapons ban underscores complicated politics of guns on Capitol Hill despite public outrage after gunman killed 26 people, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, December. While shootings prompted some pro-gun lawmakers to endorse limits on assault weapons, Republicans who control the House Judiciary Committee still oppose such limits (…..)



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One Response to Tough Path Seen by Obama on Ban of Assault Weapons

  1. Professor Uziel Nogueira says: As a foreigner that lived many years in Washington DC, I’m skeptical about any initiative to address the tragic consequences of the deep entrenched gun culture in America for two reasons: First, I’m not sure whether the MAJORITY of the American people favor additional gun controls, including assault rifles and high-capacity magazines. I thought fascination with guns was part of the universe of low income, uneducated folks. The tragedy in Newtown Conn. proved me wrong;

    Second, the gun culture is the equivalent of Wall Street and financial institutions too big to fail.

    It is politically impossible to tackle the fundamental causes of the problem. In the case of guns, total ban on assault weapons and corresponding ammunition. My heart is with the victims of gun violence. I hope Obama’s gun control initiative will succeed in curbing deaths by weapons of war. However, my brain tells me otherwise.


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