Vice President Biden said Thursday he sees an emerging consensus around “universal background checks” for all gun buyers and a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines as he completes the Obama administration’s broad study of ways to curb the nation’s gun violence. But the National Rifle Association, a participant in an afternoon meeting with Biden, strongly rejected what it called “an agenda to attack the Second Amendment” and indicated it would have nothing more to do with the vice president’s task force on gun laws.
Well, maybe not so much of a consensus then.
I personally have no problem with either idea, although I consider myself a strong Second Amendment defender. We should be honest that neither would likely have stopped the most recent gun massacre or most similar incidents. In the case of Sandy Hook, the shooter’s mother purchased the guns legally. She either did or presumably could have passed a background check. Even the shooter, with no reported history of mental illness or criminality, could have. High-capacity magazines, from where I sit, don’t necessarily deserve Constitutional protection, but the Aurora shooter had multiple weapons. And we haven’t gotten to the problem of defining what a high-capacity magazine is or getting them out of circulation. Nevertheless, it is noteworthy that the VP didn’t mention an assault weapons ban.
This is yet another feeble attempt to pass a quick gun fix that will please the liberal base and drive conservatives to distraction. Moreover, I highly doubt the White House is going to ask much of its own supporters in Hollywood.
For the zillionth time, Republicans are being set up for a fight the Dems think they can win. In this case, Republicans can cast their votes and see which if any Democrats want to break with the Second Amendment supporters who view any regulation as unacceptable. I would be interesting to watch the Senate vote. (I strongly recommend against a filibuster on this one, as I have advised on most of these political face offs). The real message here is that Obama is interested in fights and not in achieving a serious second-term agenda.