Neil Heslin with his son Jesse Lewis, aged 6 – Jesse was one of the 20 children killed in in Sandy Hook
CTPost: A false fire alarm, 45-minute waits to get into the Capitol complex, even the heckling of a bereaved parent of a Newtown shooting victim marked Monday’s day-long legislative hearing on gun control.
“The Second Amendment!” was shouted by several gun enthusiasts in the meeting room as Neil Heslin, holding a photo of his 6-year-old son, Jesse Lewis, asked why Bushmaster assault-style weapons are allowed to be sold in the state.
“There are a lot of things that should be changed to prevent what happened,” said Heslin, who grew up using guns and seemed undisturbed by the interruption of his testimony…..
President Obama signs executive orders on gun violence flanked by 8-year old letter writer Hinna Zeejah (L), 10-year old letter writer Taejah Goode (3rd L), 11-year old letter writer Julia Stokes and 8-year old letter writer Grant Fritz (R)
Julia and Taejah’s letters
President Barack Obama signs letters written by Hinna Zeejah, Grant Fritz, Julia Stokes, and Teja Goode backstage in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building’s South Court Auditorium after unveiling new gun control proposals as part of the Administration’s response to the Newtown, Conn., shootings, and other tragedies, Jan. 16. The children wrote to President Obama in the wake of the Newtown tragedy expressing their concerns about gun violence and school safety. (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama in the Connecticut Post: As a society, our first task must be to care for our children – to shield them from harm and give them the tools they need not only to pursue their dreams, but to help build this country. That is how we will be judged. And in the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, it’s clear we have a long way to go.
That’s why, last month, I asked Vice President Biden to lead an effort to come up with concrete steps we can take right now to keep our kids safe, help prevent mass shootings, and reduce the broader epidemic of gun violence in this country. And on Wednesday, I put forward a specific set of proposals based on Joe’s recommendations. Because while there is no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence completely, if there is even one thing we can do to reduce this violence – if even one life can be saved – we have an obligation to try.
As President, I’m committed to doing my part. That’s why I signed 23 executive actions giving law enforcement, schools, mental health professionals, and the public health community the tools they need to help reduce gun violence.
President Obama: “…. the fact that this problem is complex can no longer be an excuse for doing nothing. The fact that we can’t prevent every act of violence doesn’t mean we can’t steadily reduce the violence, and prevent the very worst violence.
…. I will use all the powers of this office to help advance efforts aimed at preventing more tragedies like this. We won’t prevent them all – but that can’t be an excuse not to try. It won’t be easy – but that can’t be an excuse not to try.”
Full transcript of the President’s remarks today (video in post below)
Charles Pierce: Following the announcement by Cerberus, the capital management firm that said yesterday that it was getting out of the firearms business, it appears that the notion of divestment is starting to catch on around the country:
The $150.1 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund is reviewing its investments in firearm manufacturers, a spokesman for New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said on Tuesday. New York City’s pension funds are also reviewing investments and may sell nearly $18 million worth of stock in four companies that manufacture guns and ammunition, a spokesman said on Tuesday….
…. If you’re wondering why the NRA is extending what Joe Scarborough called “the olive branch” this time, there’s your reason … These clowns didn’t grow a conscience over the weekend. Their sugar daddies are losing money, and that’s all that ever has mattered.
Greg Sargent: The White House press corps didn’t seem to think President Obama’s press conference on guns today was that newsworthy — reporters were more interested in asking him about the imminent fiscal cliff deadline. But I believe Obama’s pledge today to pursue sustained action to combat gun violence was a very important moment, and demonstrates what presidential leadership on this issue is supposed to look like.
…. No question, it’s easy to remain skeptical about the prospects for real reform and about whether lawmakers, Obama included, will remain engaged once the Newtown headlines fade. But Obama did demonstrate today what presidential engagement on this issue looks like. And in so doing, he invited us to insist that he sustain it for the foreseeable future.
ThinkProgress: The National Rifle Association finally broke its silence and announced they would hold a press conference a week after the massacre of 27 people, most of them children around 6 years old, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. In the official statement, gun advocates’ most prominent lobby suggested they would make “meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again”.
While the nature of these “meaningful contributions” will be revealed at Friday’s conference, the NRA’s response to other mass shootings is historically to offer condolences to victims’ families and continue to push a radical agenda to make it easier to get guns and carry them in more places. In fact, some of their most extreme legislation has been passed in the wake of a mass shooting….
Donkeylicious: …. the government of Australia banned the manufacture and possession of semiautomatic long guns (rifles and shotguns) and high capacity magazines in 1996. They then spent about $500 million buying back existing guns, compensating gun dealers and for loss of business, etc. In total, roughly 650,000 guns were reclaimed and destroyed.
…. Australia hasn’t had a mass shooting since…
…. The practical effect of such a buyback in the United States would be much more muted. The best estimates suggest there are between 2.5 and 4 million semiautomatic long guns in the US. That’s roughly 1% of the total gun inventory, rather than the 30% that such guns made up in Australia. Still, semiautomatic guns are used in a number of spree shootings, and high capacity magazines are almost always used. Buying back those magazines would almost certainly be worth it.
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden talk in a West Wing hallway of the White House, following the President’s statement to the press, Dec. 19, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
“He leans back, tea at his side, legs crossed, to explain what he thinks just happened. ‘It was easy to think that maybe 2008 was the anomaly,’ he says. ‘And I think 2012 was an indication that, no, this is not an anomaly. We’ve gone through a very difficult time. The American people have rightly been frustrated at the pace of change, and the economy is still struggling, and this President we elected is imperfect. And yet despite all that, this is who we want to be.’
Pete Souza: “The President works on his Newtown speech. Two days earlier, I photographed him when John Brennan first briefed him on the shootings. Throughout that day, he reacted as we all did, which people witnessed when he delivered his statement a few hours later. Before we headed to Newtown for the Sunday night vigil, he went to watch his daughter Sasha, 11, rehearse for her ballet performance in the Nutcracker. He was going to miss her performance that night because of the trip to Newtown. During breaks in the rehearsal, he worked on the speech. His expression in this photograph may be subtle to the viewer, but not to me. There is emotion and resolve etched on his face, and I know this was perhaps the toughest day of his Presidency.”
NYT: President Obama has ordered Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to lead an interagency group to develop a multifaceted response to last week’s mass shooting at a Connecticut school, a White House official said.
Mr. Obama will appear in the White House briefing room alongside Mr. Biden at 11:45 a.m. on Wednesday to announce the assignment but an aide said they will not announce any major policy decisions. Instead, the aide said the president will lay out a process for developing new policies.
Greg Sargent: I continue to be cautiously — or perhaps foolishly — optimistic that we may really see Democrats attempt gun law reform in the wake of the Newtown carnage, and today brings fresh reasons for that optimism.
At the White House briefing, press secretary Jay Carney confirmed that President Obama supports Senator Dianne Feinstein’s proposal to renew the assault weapons ban, which she intends to introduce on the first day of the new Congress.
Here’s more: A top member of the Senate Democratic leadership tells me Dems are very likely to introduce a whole package of reforms — not just the assault weapons ban; that plus a host of other initiatives — during the first half of 2013.
President Barack Obama listens to Cecilia Muñoz, Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council, during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Dec. 18, 2012. At right is Roberto Rodriquez, Special Assistant to the President for Education Policy. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Time: A social media director for the Obama campaign tells the story of how a well-timed photo of Barack and Michelle Obama broke records for Twitter and Facebook.