Momentum on Gun Policy Changes Fading Fast as Washington Takes a Break


Has Washington waited too long to act on gun policy? Politico asks that question, noting that more than 100 days after the Newtown massacre, no bill has passed either house of Congress, which now is on a two-week spring break. The increasingly sour mood of gun control proponents highlights the stakes in reaping even a slim victory from Congress this spring. President Obama may still get a bill, but not like the one he envisioned in December. There won't be new bans on assault weapons or high-capacity ammunition magazines. Universal background checks have moved from an assumed yes to a wish list item for gun control advocates. Even a new gun trafficking law – the smallest and weakest of the issues – is not a sure thing to pass the Senate. National Urban League President Marc Morial acknowledged that it takes massacres like Newtown to drive gun control momentum. “Too much of our history has been in reacting to crisis, but sometimes that is what it takes,” he said. Richard Feldman, a former National Rifle Association lobbyist, said Obama's mistake was seeking gun control reforms that are too broad. Time was wasted, Feldman said, with the debate over assault weapons and magazine size, that could have been spent pushing for an immediate vote. “If you're all over the board, you're as strong as your weakest link. Drop your weakest link. Put your best foot forward. I'd always rather go back to Congress as a winner and ask for more later,” he said.

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