While a number of Democrats in Congress called for some type of legislative response to the mass school shooting in Connecticut, there was no real agreement on what would be the best way to address that tragedy, as the White House made clear there will be no rush of gun control proposals right now.
“It’s a complex problem that will require a complex solution,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney at Monday’s briefing.
“No single piece of legislation, no single action will fully address the problem. So I don’t have a specific agenda to announce to you today,” Carney added.
While the White House side stepped the issue for now, Democrats in Congress were making more noise about what they describe as “common sense” gun reforms, like a ban on the sale of semi-automatic assault weapons.
“Enough is enough,” said Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey as he discussed the Connecticut school shooting.
“This is about keeping little children safe in their first grade classroom,” Menendez said on the Senate floor.
Two strong Democratic supporters of the National Rifle Association made rumblings about changing their ways on gun controls, as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) both said the shootings showed the need for some kind of change.
“Everything should be on the table,” said Manchin.
But while gun control supporters could point to a few statements like that, there still wasn’t a major rush on their side – we’ll have to see if that changes in the weeks ahead.
History might be a guide to figure out what’s next, as a January 1989 school shooting may be one to review for any possible political parallels.
In 1989, a drifter named Patrick Purdy used an AK-47 to spray a school playground in Stockton, California with bullets, killing five kids and wounding over two dozen more before turning the weapon on himself.
That incident prompted a lot of political finger pointing at the time over gun control, and led the Bush Administration to institute a temporary ban on the import of certain semi-automatic assault weapons – it would later be turned into a sales and import ban by the Congress in 1994; that law expired in 2004.
I’m not predicting that we are about to see a repeat, but it is always instructive to look back at similar points in history and see what happened. (You can read more about that shooting at http://bit.ly/U8LQea)
If you are wondering – the feds have the power to block the import of certain weapons, if they are determined not to have sporting use.
It’s a reminder that the Obama Administration has the ability to make some moves on gun controls, without going through the Congress.