Support widens for gun control in Senate as state, local debates continue

The controversy over guns continues this week as the Senate returns from its Easter recess to debate gun-control legislation. Meanwhile, local governments in the area are in a dispute over whether to take a position on the issue. Continue reading for the Post’s coverage.

National analysis | Support widens for gun control

Even though polls show that a universal background-check system is supported by nine in 10 Americans, the president has been unable to translate popular support for the measures into legislative momentum on Capitol Hill.

But in a move that could draw other Republicans as well as Democrats from conservative states who have not yet backed Obama’s agenda, Sen. Joe Manchin III (W.Va.), a key Democratic broker, has spent the past few days crafting the framework of a possible deal with Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.).

Meanwhile, President Obama returns to Connecticut today to advocate for the proposals.

The Fix on Pat Toomey | Gun control’s unlikely savior

At his core, Toomey is not a pure ideologue but rather a political survivor. Prior to running against Specter in 2004, Toomey spent three terms representing a swing-ish House seat in northeastern Pennsylvania. And, while he clearly touted his conservative bona fides when he ran against Specter in 2004, he cast himself much more as a pragmatic pol during his 2010 win.

Toomey understands then that to win in 2016 — a presidential year in a state where a Republican nominee has not won since 1988 — he has to demonstrate some cross-aisle cooperation. And, while much of the middle section of Pennsylvania is filled with hunters who prize their gun rights, the votes Toomey needs are in the Philadelphia suburbs where voters are much more likely to support gun restrictions. Being involved in what will almost certainly be cast as a “common sense” deal — if a deal is struck — is great politics for Toomey.

More from The Fix: A filibuster would be dangerous for Republicans.

Martin O’Malley | Behind Maryland’s tough gun law

A few days after the Newtown shooting, Gov. Martin O’Malley met with his advisers to discuss gun control:

His team had mostly been recovering from the exhaustion of campaigning for three statewide referendums and President Obama’s reelection. They had no grand plan to take on guns as the state legislature was about to convene in Annapolis . . .

But a key piece of their agenda, as itemized in a memo that the advisers gave O’Malley, was something no state had attempted to enact in nearly two decades, and never south of the Mason-Dixon line: a new way of licensing firearms that would require fingerprinting, more-rigorous background checks and safety training. . .

O’Malley had been preoccupied with gun violence since his days as a Baltimore assistant state’s attorney. As the city’s mayor and as governor, he had insisted on starting each morning with a police memo listing the number of overnight homicides.

The District | Area government council divided over gun stance

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments has entered the gun control debate:

Last month, in response to the Newtown, Conn., school shootings, the COG board of directors voted to take a position on gun violence and support measures such as an assault weapons ban, closing the “gun show loophole” and approving firearms waiting periods. The resolution entirely adopted a position paper issued in February by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. . .
The boards of Loudoun and Frederick counties promptly voted to withdraw hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual funding from COG, and Prince William County and the city of Manassas threatened to do the same if the resolution wasn’t reversed. Loudoun, Frederick and Manassas called the policy “inappropriate and disrespectful” of the views of individual localities and not proper for COG to weigh in on.

Public art | Bullet-riddled school bus debuts in the District

A school bus pocked with bullet holes was on display in Washington over the weekend:

Artist Viktor Mitic created the work, titled “Incident,” last fall after a spate of gang violence in his home town of Toronto. It involved Mitic buying a small used school bus, taking it to a rural Canadian location and inviting several well-armed compatriots to blow thousands of holes in it, ranging from .22-caliber plinks to shotgun blasts . . .

“Incident” resonated after the mass shooting in December at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and Mitic was invited to show the piece as part of a D.C. show, “Newtown Project: Art Targets Guns.” It is also being shown Monday through Wednesday at George Mason University’s Fairfax campus.

The Fact-Checker | Rob Portman on a “national gun registry” | Other misleading statements

Max Ehrenfreund is a blogger on the Financial desk and writes for Know More and Wonkblog.
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