The Newtown massacre has brought renewed focus to the Obama administration’s record on guns and gun control. ABC News notes that, though the president vowed to take action in the wake of the Tucson massacre, he said in the same breath, “my administration has not curtailed the rights of gun owners — it has expanded them, including allowing people to carry their guns in national parks and wildlife refuges.” Indeed, in his first year in office, the president reversed a decades-long ban on carrying loaded guns in state parks as well as a ban on transporting firearms by train. Rather than calling for further restrictions on guns, the president advocated enforcing the laws currently on the books, as well as faster and more stringent background checks, in the wake of the Tucson massacre.
But the New York Times notes that, while the Department of Justice drew up “a detailed list of steps the government could take to expand the background-check system in order to reduce the risk of guns falling into the hands of mentally ill people and criminals,” most of their proposals never saw the light of day. The Times attributes this to the fact that “the election campaign heated up” and that “Congress conducted a politically charged investigation into the Operation Fast and Furious gun trafficking case.”
Meanwhile, the events in Newtown have ignited a veritable media frenzy, with calls for gun control coming from all corners of the web and the Twittersphere. But the Huffington Post was perhaps the most strident in its approach, noting what seems to be every gun-related crime that occurred today under the subhead ‘Another Day, More Deaths’:
These incidents are horrifying, and many like them occur each and every day. But one wonders: If the powers that be at the Huffington Post feel so strongly about the issue, why did it take Friday’s massacre for them to draw attention to what are — sadly — everyday occurrences. The question also goes for Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, who presides over a city in which nearly 500 people have been murdered this year alone — the vast majority by gunshot. Today, Emanuel called for a nationwide ban on assault weapons. Not, as you might imagine, in response to the gang violence that breaks out on the streets of his city every day, but in response to the atrocities committed in Newtown, 850 miles away. Perhaps the Huffington Post and Mayor Emanuel could begin their crusade by looking to Obama’s Justice Department, which is no longer hampered by more important concerns such as a presidential election or a politically sensitive congressional investigation.