In his usual theatrical style, on Wednesday on live television, President Barack Obama revealed his plans to implement his administration’s agenda for a new gun control policy that includes assault weapons bans, more thorough background checks of gun buyers, limited ammunition magazines, and government access to mental health records of potential gun buyers.
“In just one afternoon, the man who is suspected of okaying the smuggling of guns into the hands of the Mexican drug cartels — known as Fast and Furious — has ‘outed’ himself as the king of the gun grabbers. He’s also implementing the strategy of his former chief of staff, Rahm Emanual, by not allowing ‘a good crisis to go to waste,’” said police detective Jose Santos.
Obama’s proposal are allegedly the result of a rushed review process spearheaded by Vice President Joe Biden, that addressed law enforcement, dangerous firearms and ammunition, school and campus security, and keeping firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill.
Surrounded by children and their parents who support Obama’s gun-control agenda, the president recommended requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales; a tougher and more far-reaching assault weapons ban; limiting ammo magazines to 10-rounds; eliminating armor-piercing bullets, also known as cop-killer bullets; hiring more police officers; and instituting a federal gun trafficking statute.
The cost of the package, senior officials estimated, would be roughly $500 million, some of which could come from already budgeted funds.
“Ironically, the price tag for Obama’s gun crime agenda is the same amount lost in the Solyndra scandal by the Obama administration,” said Mike Baker, a political strategist.
“I intend to use whatever weight this office holds to make them a reality,” said the president. “If there’s even one life that can be saved, then we’ve got an obligation to try.”
The National Rifle Association, anticipating Obama’s overreach and disregard for the U.S. Constitution, released a television advertisement accusing the president of hypocrisy. In the commercial, viewers are reminded that Obama’s daughters are protected by a detail of armed bodyguards when they attend school, but Obama denies that same right to American parents and children by his opposition to arming individuals who work in government schools.
“It is unfortunate that this administration continues to insist on pushing failed solutions to our nation’s most pressing problems,” the NRA said after meeting with Biden last week. “We will not allow law-abiding gun owners to be blamed for the acts of criminals and madmen.”
As part of its policy recommendations, the White House called on Congress to act on an old administration proposal to spend $4 billion to keep 15,000 cops on the streets. In addition, the president is proposing a new initiative that would incentivize police departments to hire more school resource officers and encourage schools to hire more mental health professionals. The president’s plan also calls on Congress to allocate resources to help schools, other educational institutions and houses of worship develop emergency management plans.
The White House proposals, even officials there admit, are not a cure-all for mass shootings. Among the suggested recommendations on the gun-policy front, only the ban on high-capacity magazines could have had a tangible impact on the shooting in Newtown, and it’s unclear what, exactly, the effect would have been.
Moreover, the administration claims it is pointedly not going after those weapons and ammunition clips that are currently and lawfully owned. The proposal would instead affect the future production and sale of military-style weapons or high-capacity magazines.
“We are not going to go after existing stock of weapons or magazines,” said a senior administration official. “We are going to limit it to the manufacturing of assault weapons and clips going forward.”
The White House nevertheless insists that its package of proposals has teeth. It would provide law enforcement with the mechanisms needed to go after the illegal transfer of weapons and help prevent those weapons from falling into the wrong hands. It would also stem the use of military-style weapons — the White House says its proposal would improve on the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, which was riddled with loopholes — and give schools and communities resources to address violence when it occurs.
“Gun-grabbing media, political and business interests are bad news. They use murderous acts of a few to generate opposition to the rights of the many. They mislead public opinion against the civil right to keep and bear arms,” stated John Snyder, an advisory board member of the National Association of Chiefs of Police.