President Obama has signed 23 executive actions related to prevention of further gun-related violence into law. This, obviously, was in response to the Newtown Conn. massacre of twenty children and their teachers on December 14, 2012. However, more is to be done and additional gun control proposals have been outlined by the President to be acted upon by Congress. These include: the elimination of loopholes and required background checks for all gun sales, the prohibition on high-capacity magazines to be reinstated as well as the renewal and strengthening of the ban on assault weapons.
Word on the Hill is that the Democrat from California, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, will formally roll out gun legislation in segments over the next several months. This will include the most hotly debated and seemingly divisive issue of the ban on assault weapons and the limiting of ammunition clips to 10 rounds. Also it is anticipated that Feinstein will bring forward a package that will look at creating a system of background checks that will be applied consistently for all firearm sales in retail stores, gun shows and private exchanges.
There is no doubt, based on the debate thus far, that this is a contentious issue along party lines. However, it has become clear that the Democratic Party may not be as united a front in support of Obama’s proposed legislation as first thought. Especially those democrats who are up for re-election in 2014 in gun friendly states. Those folks are weighing their options, wondering if a vote for gun control is an invitation to lose their congressional seat.
Most surprising among those weighing options is the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid from Nevada. Reid has always been a supporter, both strategically and substantively, of Obama’s programs. And yet, with this issue he has diverged from his party. He went as far as to say that such legislation may well be “futile.”
At this most important time in our history the Democratic Party has an obligation to protect the interest of the greater good over the job security of a few. Perhaps, if our government leaders could embrace the philosophy and way of being of those teachers that sacrificed their lives in Newtown to save their students, the right choice would be self-evident to them as it seems to be to the majority of Americans.