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Rob Horowitz: Obama Proposes Common Sense Gun Policies

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


President Obama last week unveiled a comprehensive package of executive orders and proposed legislative initiatives designed to reduce the gun violence that plagues our nation and to limit the number of future Newtown-like tragedies. The President’s proposals include providing universal background checks by closing the gun show loophole which now results in 40% of guns being purchased without a background check, bolstering the existing background check system by ensuring that all the people that should be denied the ability to purchase a gun are on the list, reinstating and strengthening the assault weapons ban, limiting the capacity of magazines to 10 bullets, and providing greater protection at schools by offering incentives to hire School Resource Officers, among other provisions.

Taken together, this well-crafted plan provides the possibility of making a real dent in the problem. But for enough of the pieces to be put in place, it must first be enacted and, despite the momentum for action created by Newtown, that remains a tough political fight. As the President said in his radio address this past weekend, “I will do everything in my power to make them (the adoption of the proposals) a reality. Because while we may not be able to prevent every senseless act of violence in this country, if there is even one thing we can do to reduce it—if even one life can be saved—we’ve got an obligation to try.”

It is true that the some of the improvements offered by the President, such as building a more complete list of people who should be denied the ability to purchase a gun and providing incentives to hire School Resource officers, are proceeding right away since they are being done under his Executive Authority. The more important components, however, including providing universal background checks and reinstating the assault weapons ban, do require Congressional approval.

Recognizing this fact, the White House appears ready to launch a full-scale public education and legislative campaign for its gun package. For example, The President’s “Obama for America” organization has now been turned into a group called “Organizing for Action”, in order to provide a structure better suited to raising the money that will be needed to promote the gun package and other second term priorities. President Obama will be joined in this effort by Mayors Against Illegal Guns and other pro-gun control groups.

The key to success will be building a broad coalition that goes beyond traditional gun control advocates to include police officers and other law enforcement officials as well as hunters. In a nation were about four in 10 households contain guns, it will be critical to continually reinforce that these common sense proposals are aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of the dangerous few—the criminals, the seriously mentally-ill and the terrorists—and will in no way jeopardize the right to hunt or protect one’s family for the overwhelming majority of citizens who are law abiding.

Supporters of the President’s package can draw encouragement from some favorable signs. The National Rifle Association (NRA) recently indicated that they may not oppose the universal background check provisions—a significant departure from their previous stance on the issue. About 90% of the public and more than 70% of NRA members support universal background checks. And the overall shifts in public opinion towards more support for gun control measures has been greater in the wake of Newtown than in past massacres and so far appears to be holding. Still, building on these positive developments and gaining passage of these common sense proposals will take the exercise of political capital and persistence. The good news is that President Obama seems to be prepared and dedicated to the big task ahead

Rob Horowitz is a strategic and communications consultant who provides general consulting, public relations, direct mail services and polling for national and state issue organizations, various non-profits and elected officials and candidates. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Rhode Island



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Fabiano Terrenni

Perhaps the President should have stated that he would increase Federal prosecutions for gun crimes.

They are down 40% under his administration...

Russ Hryzan

If you think a 10 bullet magazine limit is "common sense", then maybe sticking with that same ridiculous and insane logic, we should also put a 2 gallon fuel limit on cars so drunk drivers can't drive as far after drinking and won't be able to crash into as many potential people or cars. Sounds stupid, doesn't it? Yeah, so does 10 bullet magazine limits and banning law-abiding citizens from owning semi-automatic rifles.

Obama is obviously clueless on guns and gun issues (what a surprise, there), and should just keep his mouth shut, especially since his former city of Chicago (the liberal wasteland that it is) has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country, and some of the highest gun violence rates in the US, despite all of those wonderful gun control laws.

This is all just a bunch of liberal nonsense that's only intended to further destroy the 2nd Amendment.

Joseph Bernstein

You,Mr.Horowitz,and your East Side elitist friends really just want a total ban on private ownership of firearms,but knowing that isn't possible you'll go the incremental route by chipping away here and there.Universal background checks(already law in RI) is common sense firearms law.Banning high capacity magazines is feelgood nonsense that accomplishes nothing-nor does a gun registry.
Of the 6 New England states,the 4(including RI)without an AWB have had between them only one mas killing with a semiauto rifle(Carl Drega in NH)-Ma and CT have had mass killings with AR/AK firearms and they have AWB's.Explain that-obviously the cause isn't a piece of hardware.You want guns banned?Go collect them-:)

Joseph Bernstein

@Russ-it's hard to make sense to people who have been raised in an elitist bubble and never served in the military nor have much hands on experience with guns.Just remember-these liberal elitists always know what is best for us poor benighted souls.

Wuggly Ump

Mr. Horowitz you mention the "right to hunt". The Second Amendment isn't about shooting deer, it's about shooting tyrants. You want to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals. So do I. You can't. Look at the drug war and prohibition. It didn't work. Remember that definition of insane keep doing the same thing over and over with the same result. Columbine happened in the middle of the 1994 "Assault Weapons Ban", didn't work. Stop trying to infringe on rights of other citizens.

I see you for a full scale education program, so am I. Bring rifle team competition back to schools. We have sex education to stop teen pregnancy, wouldn't firearms education stop teen shootings?

If it's "one life saved" to ban something, let's start with cars, swimming pools, prescription drugs and stair cases.

I've said before an "assault weapon" is something used to commit assault on another person. This would cover just about everything.

To my fellow firearm enthusiasts don't let the banners define the terms. We need to take this conversation back. They don't know what they're talking about. This makes it impossible to talk to them they don't speak the language. Ask them if they're talking about automatic, semi-automatic, double action, pump action, etc. Make them define, in correct terms what they are saying. Use "firearm" instead of weapon. A tool isn't a "weapon" until used against someone, ask a hammer.
The Providence Journal defined a flash suppressor as a device that keeps the barrel cool. Hey guys a flash suppressor, suppresses the flash.

Joseph Bernstein

We shouldn't be trying to "convince"people like Seth Yurdin to "permit" us to have unalienable rights.We just need to let his ilk know we won't give up those rights.end of discussion.

Art West

Wuggly Ump,

Extremely well said.

As you rightly point out, the car is the far more lethal weapon in today's society.

Perhaps we should ban autos with more than 4 cylinders?

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