Obama Administration Backing Away from an Assault Weapons Ban?


The New York Times went to print with this yesterday: “As a task force led by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. readies recommendations on reducing gun violence for delivery to the president next week, White House officials say a new ban will be an element of whatever final package is proposed. But given the entrenched opposition from gun rights groups and their advocates on Capitol Hill, the White House is trying to avoid making its passage the sole definition of success and is emphasizing other new gun rules that could conceivably win bipartisan support and reduce gun deaths.” Today, the Obama Administration pushed back . . .

“The President has been clear that Congress should reinstate the assault weapons ban and that avoiding this issue just because it’s been politically difficult in the past is not an option,” Matt Lehrich, a White House spokesperson told TPM Friday in response to the Times piece.

While a failure by Obama to deliver a ban after his strong words following the Newtown shooting would likely be seen as a political loss in general, gun control advocates in particular say otherwise. The priority for them, they say, is universal background checks.

“The single biggest problem that the administration can solve is making sure every [firearms] buyer gets a background check,” Mark Glaze told TPM Friday. Glaze is the director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Michael Bloomberg’s gun control advocacy group. “Nearly 50% of buyers never get one, and that is the dominant problem in gun policy in this country.”

The Brady Campaign took a similar position on background checks in the Times story Friday, another sign that the gun control crowd is ready to back Obama up if his push for an assault weapons ban sputters out in the face of congressional gridlock. “It’s very important to point out that background checks could have an even bigger impact,” Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign, told the paper.

Has the [Internet] Age of Miracles not passed? While not proclaiming victory, the NRA is bullish on putting the kibosh on an AWB. abc.go.news.com:

David Keene, president of the NRA, speaking on NBC Friday morning, said he doesn’t believe there will be an assault weapons ban. Congress won’t support it, he argued, and from his view it did nothing to stop violence when it was passed in 1994.

“I do not think there is going to be a ban on so-called assault weapons passed by Congress,” he said.

While this an extremely hopeful sign in a time of troubles, preparing for defeat is not the same as abandoning the field. At the very least, Obama’s Boyz are going to run civilian disarmament up the proverbial flagpole and see who salutes it. And Senator Feinstein will not be denied, even if she is.

Besides, there are very members of the gun rights community who trust a word any politician says about their Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. For good reason. And, lest we forget, the battle is joined in Connecticut, Colorado, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and more.

This is far from over, folks.