President Obama set the stage for an epic gun policy battle with Republicans by demanding recommendations by January from his gun violence task force.
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Obama highlighted not just gun laws, but also mental health and cultural issues. Obama later announced that Vice President Biden will be heading up a task force to deliver him policy positions by no later than January. He stressed that this isn’t a presidential commission. The president said he selected Biden because of his legislative history in the Senate.
Obama mentioned banning assault weapons, high capacity magazines, and he nailed Republicans for blocking a new head of the ATF for six years. Obama said that the vast majority of gun owners are responsible and law abiding. The president believes that these responsible gun owners don’t want guns in the hands of dangerous people. Obama listed all of the gun crimes in the country since Friday, and said each American was a victim of daily gun violence that we can’t accept as routine. He said we can’t prevent all gun violence, but that can’t be an excuse not try.
The president said, “If we are going to change things it is going to take a wave of Americans….to stand up and say enough.” He called for common sense and cooperation to prevail to make America safer.
This is the biggest sign yet that there are some serious legislative proposals coming soon. The Beltway media has already grown bored with the gun issue so all the initial questions the president faced were about the fiscal cliff. (Surprise. There aren’t any more terrified children to interview, so the media has lost interest in the gun violence story.)
Appointing Vice President Biden to head up this task force was brilliant move by the president. Biden was the author of the historic 1994 crime bill. If anyone already has ideas that can get moving fast, it is Joe Biden. The media is preoccupied with the fiscal cliff, but Obama just set the stage for a huge legislative battle as soon as his second term begins.
The president’s appeal to responsible gun owners is a recognition that the NRA has gone beyond the beliefs of many of their members. According to a poll conducted by Republican pollster Frank Luntz, 70% of NRA members support at least one form of gun restrictions.
The president understands that the national consensus exists for action. He could have taken the easy way out, but Obama looks ready to take on Republicans over the assault weapons ban.
Beyond the fiscal cliff, the stage is set for an epic political battle as Obama is set to challenge the political status quo on guns and violence