With unexpected candor the NY Times puts a big smiley face on Obama's likely gun control proposals:
Obama Gun Proposal to Look Beyond Mass Shootings
He's a big picture guy! And we learn why in the opening paragraph:
A new federal assault weapons ban and background checks of all gun buyers, which President Obama is expected to propose on Wednesday, might have done little to prevent the massacre in Newtown, Conn., last month. The semiautomatic rifle that Adam Lanza used to shoot 20 schoolchildren and 6 adults complied with Connecticut’s assault weapons ban, the police said, and he did not buy the gun himself.
But another proposal that Mr. Obama is expected to make could well have slowed Mr. Lanza’s rampage: banning high-capacity magazines, like the 30-round magazines that the police said Mr. Lanza used, which have been factors in several other recent mass shootings.
"Slowed the rampage"? Are they kidding? Left unmentioned by the Times - Adam Lanza had two semiautomatic pistols with him as well as the SA rifle. He also put between three and eleven bullets in each victim, so he did not seem to be pressed for either time or ammunition. And the shooter at Va Tech killed thirty-two people with two handguns and ten and fifteen round magazines. So in the specific case of Adam Lanza, the problem was neither the "assault weapon" (seemingly acquired legally under the Connecticut ban on assault weapons) nor the thirty round magazines.
Well, never let a crisis go to waste! Since Obama's proposals are a bit tangential to the Newtwon shooting, what is his point?
...But some of the proposals that Mr. Obama is expected to make at the White House on Wednesday, which are likely to include a call for expanded background checks, a ban on assault weapons and limits on high-capacity clips, will be intended not only to prevent high-profile mass shootings, but also to curb the more commonplace gun violence that claims many thousands more lives every year.
“The president has made clear that he intends to take a comprehensive approach,” Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said Tuesday. Mr. Carney said the proposals were aimed, broadly, at what he called “the scourge of gun violence in this country.”
As Nick Gillespie notes, the scourge of gun violence has been falling for twenty years; if the crisis is random mass shootings (which have been trendless for the last thirty years), maybe the President could respond to that.
The Times dips their toe in the deep waters of reality:
While semiautomatic rifles were used in several recent mass shootings, including those in Newtown and in Aurora, Colo., where 12 people were killed at a movie theater in July, a vast majority of gun murders in the United States are committed with handguns.
In 2011, 6,220 people were killed by handguns, and 323 by rifles, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. So while the administration is expected to try to restrict some types of assault weapons, it is also focusing on ways to keep more commonly used firearms out of the hands of dangerous criminals and people with mental illness.
They segue to point/counterpoint on background checks:
The top priority of many gun control groups is to expand the background checks so that they apply to all buyers. All federally licensed firearms dealers are required to run background checks through the computerized databases that comprise the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. But the requirement does not cover guns that are sold by unlicensed sellers at gun shows and in other private sales, which account for about 40 percent of gun purchases in the country.
Better background checks would have had little effect on several recent mass shootings — both Mr. Lanza, in Connecticut, and Jacob T. Roberts, who opened fire on a mall full of Christmas shoppers a few days earlier in Clackamas, Ore., were using weapons that they did not buy. But gun control groups say that expanded background checks would help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals and people with mental illness, and would go a long way toward increasing public safety and could help prevent mass shootings.
Well, it might help. The Webster shooting in upstate NY was perpetrated by a mentally ill felon who was not legally allowed to purchase weapons, so he persuaded a friend to buy some for him. She is being charged with making a false declaration on a Federal form, but how about charging her as a co-conspirator in the crimes committed with the guns she helped purchase? That might require a change in the law (which lets her off the hook) but it would surely give future would-be straw purchasers pause.
Well. For a flavor of the scourge of violence Obama is trying to turn back, let's clip this non-fatal shooting from today's paper:
Judge Rejects Victim’s Plea and Sentences Teenager to 18 Years in Shooting
A Harlem woman who was shot in the stomach by a teenager aiming at rival gang members asked a judge on Tuesday to show leniency in his sentencing.
In a letter that was read in court by the teenager’s lawyer, the victim said that while the shooting had put her and her neighbors “at severe risk,” she also believed the boy had “the potential one day to be a valuable member of the community.”
The teenager, Troy Folk, who was 16 at the time of the shooting and turned 18 on Monday, was convicted by a jury last month of assault and criminal possession of a weapon in the shooting. He faced up to 25 years in prison.
So, how did he get this gun and why was he shooting it?
During the trial last month, Andrew Warshawer, an assistant district attorney, said Mr. Folk and an accomplice, Carl Flournoy, had picked up the gun at the St. Nicholas Houses, where they lived, and set out to taunt members of a rival gang. But they were outnumbered and ran, with the rival gang members in chase.
Mr. Folk turned and fired, Mr. Warshawer told jurors. Though Mr. Folk has maintained that it was Mr. Flournoy who fired the gun, the evidence at the trial included a recorded phone call from Rikers Island in which Mr. Folk said he could escape prosecution “if the woman I shot” did not testify before the grand jury.
And the woman was shot totally by accident as a bystander on the street.
So stricter background checks, crackdowns on straw purchases, and better liason with mental health professionals will help with this sort of behavior?
I WOULD HAVE THOUGHT THE SECRET SERVICE WAS PROTECTION ENOUGH...