Gun control groups are pushing hard to have Obama not only mention, but push for gun control in the State of the Union speech on Tuesday, January 25th.
The Brady Campaign is one of the main groups pushing it. From a story yesterday by Michael Isikoff of NBC News:
“There’s a major push to get [Obama] to say something on this,” said Chad Ramsey, legislative director of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a leading gun control group. “We’ve been told he will say something, but we’re not sure how strong it will be.”
There have been a number of different gun control ideas put forward since the Jan. 8 Tucson shooting. But gun control groups most of all want Obama’s endorsement of the bill introduced this week by Democratic Rep. Carolyn McCarthy of New York (with more than 40 co-sponsors so far). That bill would ban the sale or transfer of high-capacity gun magazines such as the one allegedly used by Jared L. Loughner to fire off more than 30 rounds. So far, the proposal (and a companion bill to be introduced next week by Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey) has yet to pick up a single Republican co-sponsor.
The Brady Campaign and their congressional backers are also campaigning to get big Democratic donors to prod Obama on gun control according to that story. What is giving them some hope are the comments made by Dick Cheney who said maybe it was time to enact restrictions on standard capacity magazines.
Sarah Brady in a commentary for CNN has this to say:
We feel it’s our duty, and we’re asking President Barack Obama to help lead the way. As he so eloquently put it in his remarks at the memorial service in Tucson, Arizona, if we want our democracy to be as good as Christina Taylor Green and other children imagine it, we have to be able to come to that proverbial table of brotherhood and work on solutions to gun violence.
He is the only political leader who has the capital, the conscience and the competence to gather us. On Thursday, press secretary Robert Gibbs affirmed the president’s commitment to banning assault weapons, and with them those high-capacity-killing magazines.
Obama is our best hope, because he is surely aware that much of the resistance to common-sense changes to our gun laws is meant to shut us down and shut us up. It is meant to allow the guys with the guns — instead of ordinary Americans like us with the ideas — and men and women of good conscience, like Gabby and Jim — to make the rules.
The bullies have succeeded too often. They have made cowardly lions out of too many members of Congress. This moment, as grievous as it is, presents a new opportunity for the president and other elected leaders to demonstrate political courage — the way President Bill Clinton did when he stood by the side of victims and fought with all he had to pass the Brady Bill.
I love all the buzz words in that statement by the sainted Sarah. High-capacity-killing magazines, gun violence, common-sense changes, the guns with guns, ordinary Americans. Of course, despite all the calls for civil discourse, we who disagree with her are “bullies.”
The online political website Politico ran an article this morning entitled “Barack Obama’s conspicuous silence on guns”. The article notes that despite his longtime and unambiguous record on gun control he has been relatively quiet on the issue since becoming President. It goes on to say despite the efforts of gun control groups and liberal Democrats the White House has been noncommittal about using the State of the Union speech to push gun control and McCarthy’s magazine ban. The article goes on to say that gun control groups are saying that Obama has “a moral responsibility” to push for it. They quote Paul Helmke who says:
“If the president could address the issue in the State of the Union that would be really important,” says Paul Helmke, president of the Washington-based Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a major gun control group.
“If he could announce his support for the high-capacity clip legislation, that would be the best thing. The next best thing would be for him to support a presidential commission to study gun violence,” adds Helmke, the former mayor of Ft. Wayne, Ind. “But he can’t stay silent. Either way, he’s just got to do something.”
There is always that refrain that we must “do something” when often the best course to take is to do nothing.
And this evening, Peggy Noonan, who seemingly has been Obama’s biggest cheerleader on the Wall Street Journal editorial page despite her time in the Reagan and Bush 1 White Houses, suggests that one idea Obama should embrace in the State of the Union speech is a “ban on extended ammo clips.”
What civilian needs a pistol with a magazine that loads 33 bullets and allows you to kill that many people without even stopping to reload? No one but people with bad intent. Those clips were banned once; the president should call for reimposing the ban. The Republican Party will not go to the wall to defend extended clips. The problem is the Democratic Party, which overreached after the assassinations of the 1960s, talked about banning all handguns, and suffered a lasting political setback. Now Democrats are so spooked they won’t even move forward on small and obvious things like this. The president should seize the moment and come out strong for a ban.
Noonan seems to believe that such a ban is a “centrist” position. I’m sure in her milieu that might be a centrist position but then again I bet she has a doorman to guard access to her apartment building.