President Barack Obama on Wednesday proposed background checks on all gun sales and bans on military style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines as part of a package of steps to reduce gun violence in the wake of the Newtown school massacre last month…
…President Barack Obama on Wednesday proposed background checks on all gun sales and bans on military style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines as part of a package of steps to reduce gun violence in the wake of the Newtown school massacre last month.
And how did Republicans respond?
Republicans immediately rejected the Obama proposals as an attack on the constitutional right to bear arms.
“Nothing the president is proposing would have stopped the massacre at Sandy Hook,” said a statement by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, considered an up-and-coming GOP leader. “President Obama is targeting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens instead of seriously addressing the real underlying causes of such violence.”
Taking a step back at the larger picture on the gun debate in the U.S., both Democrats and Republicans are placing a giant pile of their chips on the table. The outcome may depend on where each Party has placed its bet. Was Sandy Hook a true and permanent tipping point that will propel change forward? Or is the gun control debate still primarily about words in the Second Amendment?
What is clear from Rubio’s comments is that Republicans are pushing the same talking points today that they have rolled out after every gun-related tragedy. Republicans and pro-gun groups have successfully labeled events like the Aurora shooting as “unpreventable tragedies” that are more about society in general than guns and bullets specifically. They are trying to do the same with Sandy Hook, but (to continue the poker analogy), are they calling bluff one too many times?
From where we’re seated, Sandy Hook marked a true turning point in the gun debate, an event that Americans are no longer willing to add to the pile of “unpreventable tragedy.” We’ll find out soon enough if that’s true, or if the country is still not ready to think outside the wording of the Second Amendment.