- ‘Tis the Season: London florist creates $4.6 million Christmas wreath
- No tailgating allowed at Super Bowl XLVIII
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend’s shopping jumps to his death
- Ukraine leader to talk with protesters; Washington urges caution
- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
- Elian Gonzalez makes first trip outside Cuba since custody battle
- U.S., British intelligence agents enter online sci-fi world to spy on gamers
- Sarah Palin to host the outdoors show ‘Amazing America’
Gun-control advocates say Obama is too late
The big-ticket items in President Obama’s push for action on gun control will require the approval of Congress, but many of the 23 executive moves he announced Wednesday could have been taken at any time in his first term — a point that nettles those who have been advocating for stricter measures.
“It’s a disgrace that it hasn’t been done until now,” said Richard E. Gardiner, a lawyer based in Northern Virginia. “I didn’t see anything in here that they couldn’t already have been doing and in fact that the pro-gun people have been encouraging for years.”
Mr. Gardiner cited specifically improving disclosure of criminal and mental health records — an area where the National Rifle Association, the nation’s most powerful gun lobby, had been spending its own money to help states seeking to update their records.
Activists have been calling for years for Mr. Obama to force federal agencies to send more data to the instant background check system, and he could at any time have ordered all of the reviews he called for at Wednesday’s news event.
The administration defended its timeline by saying officials needed the time and careful study Mr. Biden gave the issue before they could decide what actions to take.
“It’s not as though we had a policy paper sitting on the shelf waiting somewhere,” said a senior administration official, speaking on background during a conference call briefing before the proposals were unveiled. “We met with a lot of groups and we learned a lot of ideas that came as a result of this process, so we’ve tried to be as comprehensive as possible.”
Sandy Hook was the latest in a series of shootings on Mr. Obama’s watch, including last summer’s rampage at a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colo.
But those on both sides of the debate acknowledge that the Connecticut shooting, which left 20 first-graders and a half-dozen school officials dead, gave Mr. Obama a political opening.
Rep. Peter T. King, New York Republican, said Mr. Obama this week seemed to downplay the Colorado movie theater shooting, which happened in the midst of the presidential campaign. Mr. King said it made him wonder how committed Mr. Obama is to the issue.
“The fact that it was not even mentioned during the campaign, or hardly mentioned, shows that this is not a selling political issue. It really isn’t,” he told CNN. “I wonder how serious he really is. I’m not questioning his motives, but he never mentioned it during the campaign. And now he knows that for the next two months all we’re going to be talking about is the debt ceiling, sequestration, the continuing resolution, you know, the ending of the fiscal year, all of these.”
The 23 actions Mr. Obama laid out on Wednesday included providing incentives for states to share information with the national background-check system, hiring school resource officers and addressing unnecessary legal barriers that may be preventing states from providing information to the federal background system.
Mr. Biden, who led the task force on gun violence that crafted recommendations for Mr. Obama and met with more than 220 groups, acknowledged Thursday that mental health privacy issues are inherently sensitive — and not necessarily for the usual suspects.
He said pro-gun advocates are more inclined to support disclosure, while the “anti-gun guys” are more reluctant, citing privacy issues. But he said the time has come to take action.
“We have to look at it,” he said. “We have to address it.”
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
David Sherfinski covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at email@example.com.
- Israel's Netanyahu still wary of West's deal with Iran
- Former Reagan aide James Baker: President regretted apartheid veto
- Ezekiel Emanuel: If you want to pay more for your doctor, you can under Obamacare
- Sen. Richard Durbin: No line in the sand on unemployment benefits
- Sen. Rand Paul: Supreme Court needs to re-examine Fourth Amendment
Latest Blog Entries
By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- Satanists petition for statue at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
- Ted Cruz sees legal landmines ahead for Obamacare
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- MILLER: Brady Campaign says Colorado recalls due to NRA, not grassroots opposition to gun control
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- Tech companies call for an end to NSA online snooping
- MSNBC host: Obamacare a 'wealthy white men' racist word
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
The world impacts us. What happens in our towns, cities, states, country and on this planet makes a difference to us.
Happiness is attainable. Morning to night. I love to teach, deal with folks that have an issue and really wish to tackle it and write.
Brazen, leading-edge, “call it like it is” columns and reporting from Ohio native, radio host and writer, Sara Marie Brenner.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow