The Sandy Hook Elementary School monstrous massacre guaranteed that the heat will be turned up on President Obama to take the "meaningful action" that he called for on gun control. The heat is justified, but it's not the White House that has routinely killed life-saving gun control measures during the past decade. It's been Congress.
The spectacular scope and magnitude of the congressional wipe out is barely known to the public, in part because the 18 bills introduced never got out of a House or Senate committee, and in greater part because they have been so routinely and cavalierly dumped that they drew only the barest mention if any in the press. In short, much of the public knew not a whit about these bills and their sponsors did little to publicly make the public aware that the bills even existed. There is one exception to this blackout. That is the Gun Owners of America. They meticulously chronicled the introduction of each bill, and kept a hawk-like watch on each one to make sure that it never saw the light of a house or full senate vote.
Here's the complete checklist of the gun control bills that were introduced in the past decade that would have put tougher restrictions on various aspects of gun sales and on who could get them. All were DOA in Congress.
According to the Gun Owners of America's list of "Firearms Legislation In The 111th Congress":
H.R. 45: "This bill would require a license for handguns and semiautomatics, including those currently possessed. The applicant must be thumbprinted and sign a certification that, effectively, the firearm will not be kept in a place where it would be available for the defense of the gun owner's family. The applicant must also make available ALL of his psychiatric records, pass an exam, and pay a fee of up to $25."
H.R. 197: "This bill would establish national standards for concealed carry reciprocity, but would not protect residents of pro-gun states like Vermont and Alaska which do not require paper permits."
H.R. 256: "This bill would, among other things, impose a ten-year prison sentence (a life sentence if death or kidnapping results) for using a firearm to cause bodily injury on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin."
H.R. 257: "This bill would take the already Byzantine restrictions on teaching your kids the responsible use of firearms and extend them from handguns to semi-autos; increase the age of applicability from 18 to 21; and increase potential penalties to up to 10 years in prison."
H.R. 808: "This bill would create a Department of Peace, which would be tasked with, among other things, analyzing policies with respect to 'tools of violence, including handguns.'"
H.R. 1684: "This bill would codify the Bush Administration's regulations concerning guns in National Parks."
H.R. 1913: "It would impose a 10-year prison sentence for a simple "attempt" to cause bodily injury if a firearm was involved."
H.R. 1923 : "The Fairness in Firearms Testing Act bill will require that an unedited video be recorded during the testing of a firearm to determine if it is a machine gun."
H.R. 2159: "This bill would allow Eric Holder to declare any person a 'prohibited person' (revoke licenses of, etc.) if he "suspects" that individual of aiding terrorism. Given recent disclosures that the government regards pro-lifers, pro-gun advocates, veterans, and other conservatives as potential terrorists, this has to be regarded with some alarm."
H.R. 2296: "The bad thing is that the bill would allow BATFE to impose, for the first time, civil penalties on federal firearms licensees."
H.R. 2324: "This bill is a reincarnation of the year-after-year effort to effectively ban gun shows by allowing them to be regulated and inspected to an unlimited extent. In addition, any gun show sponsor would be subject to up to two years in prison if he failed to notify every single attendee of his responsibilities under the Brady Law."
S. 632: "This bill would provide that the manufacturer's excise tax on recreational equipment be paid quarterly."
S. 843: "This bill would effectively abolish gun shows. It would require registration, unlimited inspection requirements, unlimited record-keeping requirements and an uncapped fee of potentially any amount."
S. 1317: "This bill would allow the Attorney General to deny the purchase of a firearm pursuant to an Instant check (or a permit which would allow a person to by-pass the Instant check) if he 'suspect[s]' that the person has been engaged in conduct 'related to terrorism' and the Attorney General has a 'reasonable belief' that the firearm might be used in connection with terrorism. "
The Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act: Outlaws large-capacity ammunition magazines.
The Securing Citizens' Protection at Federal Events Act: Prohibits carrying a firearm within 1,000 feet of any senior federal official.
The Gun Show Loophole Closing Act: Reduces the number of guns to be sold through impromptu or unregulated gun shows.
The Fix Gun Checks Act: Increases federal authority over individual states' background-check procedures and boost mental-health services at all publicly funded higher-education institutions.
The cry for tougher gun curbs is age old. The heinous Sandy Hook school massacre made the cry for tougher gun curbs louder and more urgent. If that cry isn't heard yet again, finger-point at Congress, not Obama, for killing life-saving gun curbs.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is a frequent political commentator on MSNBC and a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on American Urban Radio Network. He is the author of How Obama Governed: The Year of Crisis and Challenge. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KPFK-Radio and the Pacifica Network.