This week, President Obama and Vice President Biden announced a bold series of new gun control regulations designed to restrict access to the deadliest weapons available, while also focusing on other firearm-related areas through a series of 23 executive orders, which the president immediately authorized. Needless to say, the roster of actions went far beyond the expectations of gun control advocates, while blunting some of the paranoid delusions of the gun lobby and the Republican Party.
The president plans to resurrect the expired assault weapons ban and close all of the loopholes created by the NRA's puppets in 1994. There are "bullet control" proposals: no more magazines larger than 10 rounds, and no more armor-piercing bullets. Background checks will be expanded to private sales, and the gun-show loophole will be permanently closed. Additional funding has been authorized for states to report criminals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The administration will request congressional appropriations for hiring more police officers, as well as more effective tracing of firearms. The president will restart CDC research into gun violence which was blocked by the NRA -- ironically, the CDC's research examined the effects of violence in media which is, of course, one of the NRA's primary talking points since Sandy Hook. The Consumer Product Safety Commission will evaluate gun-safes and other gun-safety measures. One thousand new counselors will be added to public schools; eight thousand schools will receive anti-bullying funding; and the president will expand Medicaid to include mental health services -- a long overdue measure.
Bottom line: nobody from the administration is planning to confiscate James Yeager's death toys. But the administration does indeed plan to make it more difficult for malcontents and felons to get their hands on firearms, and who can seriously object to that? And who the hell needs a magazine containing more than 10 bullets -- other than a guy who's trying to take down Godzilla or a legion of zombies perhaps. Come to think of it, I wouldn't be surprised if Alex Jones and other unhinged "Sandy Hook Truther" paranoiacs began to pop-off with the zombie apocalypse argument against gun control.
As for the assault weapons ban, the president will definitely have his work cut out for him here, especially in the NRA-owned House of Representatives, not to mention all of the NRA-owned conservative Democrats like Rep. John Barrow (D-GA-12th). You might recall Barrow from the 2012 campaign when he released an over-the-top love letter video to the NRA featuring the congressman cocking his personal firearms and not-so-subtly threatening anyone who tries to take them away from him. By the way, the non-profit activist group, The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, released a compelling video attacking Barrow's love affair with the NRA and the gun culture, and implying the gun culture's complicity with the Sandy Hook massacre.
In addition, don't be surprised if the Republicans try to strong-arm the administration on the NRA's latest gun-sales gimmick: turning public schools into a U.S./Soviet style arms races, with escalating caches of firearms entering buildings in which nothing more dangerous than spitballs and cafeteria tater-tots should be present. (I was about to write a line joking that the NRA is attempting to transform schools into post-apocalyptic Thunderdomes, but then I recalled from the Mad Max trivia cortex of my brain that guns weren't even allowed inside the walls of Bartertown.) Regardless, the NRA sees the school arsenal argument as a two-pronged win for them: it distracts from real gun control laws and, if actually enacted, it would create a new market for firearms and a cash cow for the private security industry.
The coming legislative battle will be huge, infuriating and exhausting. Perhaps not as lengthy as the healthcare reform debate, but almost as heated given the NRA's power and cashflow. And this week we witnessed just a taste of what the NRA plans to unleash. They released a snarky, almost cartoonishly ridiculous video in which they shamefully looped the Obama daughters into the debate. The video notes that the Obama girls have armed guards at their school, so why can't there be armed guards at every school?
First, shame on the NRA for hitting the president's children and then having the audacity to accuse the president of not caring about children. I also noticed that none of Wayne LaPierre's online bios list anything about his family. The NRA seems to be keeping that information well hidden. Why? Perhaps because LaPierre doesn't want his political enemies to use his family in advertisements and political statements.
Secondly, yes, the president and the First Lady send their children to a private school that features armed guards because, well, you know, national security. Should we really need to explain this? Due to the obvious fact that they're so visible and because enemies might target them as a way to undermine and incite the president, the First Daughters also receive extensive Secret Service protection. If they were ever kidnapped, there would be serious executive branch and international ramifications. But it goes without saying that these distinctions don't really matter to a faction that deals in misinformation, lies and propaganda.
The NRA's influence is broad and its pockets are deep. This is precisely why gun control advocates must remain fired up and tenacious. Too often the NRA has successfully run out the clock on gun control, using money and America's short attention span to exhaust the gun control effort, or they simply pick away at new legislation until, like the assault rifle ban of 1994, it's full of loopholes and subsequently rendered conveniently less-effective. It can't be allowed to do it again.
Cross-posted at The Daily Banter.
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