There are many parts and subparts to President Obama’s anti-gun violence proposals, but unless and until committees of jurisdiction take up some or all of them we really have no idea what is in the realm of possibility. But here are a few observations:
1. President Obama was able to put on paper very specific proposals on guns. Where are his written proposals for health-care cost reductions? For an alternative to the sequester?
2. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) promised to vote on something having to do with guns “early this year.” Why won’t he promise to pass a budget?
3. The president included nothing that would ease mandatory mental evaluations of those who appear to be dangers to themselves or others. The single common thread in these mass shootings is a mentally unbalanced perpetrator who is untreated and/or not sufficiently supervised.
4. The president adopted the National Rifle Association’s suggestion for armed guards in schools.
5. There is nothing in his proposals that will cause the makers of violent video games or movies a moment of concern. Their political donations have finally paid off.
6. Democratic senators in competitive states up for reelection in 2014 ( e.g., Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Max Baucus of Montana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mark Udall of Colorado, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Tim Johnson of South Dakota and Mark Warner of Virginia) plus 43 Republicans could vote down an assault weapons ban or other stringent anti-gun measures on an up-and-down; the pro-gun senators would have more than enough for a filibuster. With that political reality the chances of significant anti-gun measures coming to the floor of the Senate are small.
7. If Democrats are serious about a full legislative fight on guns, immigration reform will slide, a result the president may or may not want.
8. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and most smart Republicans will point the press to Reid’s door. In a written statement Reid said, “Sen. McConnell will continue to defend the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding Kentuckians. While the administration acknowledged that there is much more to be done to enforce existing law, Sen. McConnell’s first test of any new legislation the majority leader decides to bring before the Senate will be on whether or not it infringes on the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.”