President Obama will announce his proposal to help "prevent gun violence," i.e., gun control, early this afternoon at a press conference.
It is expected that Obama will propose a new assault weapons bans and universal background checks on all gun purchases, which in effect would ban the private sale of firearms. What is most disturbing though is the strategy that the White House is using to sway the public. Yesterday, we were told that Obama plans to announce these gun control proposals surrounded by children.
The White House seems to believe that using children to help push these new gun control measures is the best political move. This morning they released letters from children across the country that wrote the president to demand better gun control. This seems to be a well thought out strategy that is designed to stir the emotions of the American public and get them behind Obama's proposals on gun control. The question is, will it be effective?
President Clinton was the last person to pass major gun legislation when he passed the last assault weapons ban in 1994 (it was allowed to lapse in 2004). But Clinton had a much different strategy. Clinton pushed to get assault weapons banned as part of a major crime bill, which was focused much more broadly on crime and not guns alone. Clinton also used people in the background as he went out in public to gain support for his crime bill, but he didn't use innocent children that were victims of crime, he used police. Whether policemen or children are a better backdrop for getting new gun control measures passed will be tested with Obama's push today.
Another very important distinction between how Clinton got his assault weapons ban passed and Obama's push today, is that the assault weapons ban was just one part of a larger bill and not even brought up when Clinton initially announced his desire for a crime bill. Nothing could be further from the truth today. Obama's mission is very straightforward. It's time to talk about guns.