Gun control momentum fading
For weeks, lawmakers have been consumed by debates over massive spending cuts and nomination fights. This is the last thing that gun-control advocates needed.
At the start of this year, pressure was building for stricter gun laws with the country still in shock over the tragic shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school. President Obama and gun-control advocates in Congress were ready to move quickly on legislation. Now, strong Republican opposition and a loss of momentum are putting the proposals at risk.
There is no singular, comprehensive gun-control bill before Congress. Worried that even one unpopular proposal could sink an entire legislative package, Democrats broke up the measure into different pieces.
Take the assault-rifle ban, a proposal authored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat who successfully championed a measure in the 1990s that has since expired. In several of the recent gun tragedies in the United States, assault rifles or weapons with extended ammunition magazines were used—from Aurora to Newtown.
Feinstein’s bill bans 2,000 specifically named firearms and high-capacity magazines, and the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to pass the legislation along party lines and send it to the Senate floor.
Still, the legislation’s chances of passing are now slim, despite the impassioned pleas from lawmakers and people connected to gun violence. Feinstein invited some of those advocates to a Capitol Hill hearing on Wednesday where they gave emotional testimonies about the impact of gun violence on communities across the country.
...Using victims as props is not as effective as it used to be for Democrats. People can have sympathy for their losses without agreeing that punishing the innocent will be an effective way to deal with the problem.