Reactions to Obama’s gun control plan

From Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Napa, who chairs House Democrats’ task force on gun violence:

“The president and our task force agree that we need a comprehensive approach to reduce and prevent gun violence. Executive action can and should be part of the process, and many of the executive actions announced today will have a positive influence on reducing gun violence. Now it’s time for Congress to step up and do what needs to be done to save lives. Many of the policies that will have the greatest impact on reducing gun violence will require Congressional action.

“During the next several weeks our task force will examine the president’s proposals and the proposals of others. We will continue meeting with stakeholders on every side of this issue. And we will develop a comprehensive set of policy proposals that both respect peoples’ 2nd Amendment rights and help keep our communities safe from gun violence.”

From the National Rifle Association:

“Throughout its history, the National Rifle Association has led efforts to promote safety and responsible gun ownership. Keeping our children and society safe remains our top priority.

“The NRA will continue to focus on keeping our children safe and securing our schools, fixing our broken mental health system, and prosecuting violent criminals to the fullest extent of the law. We look forward to working with Congress on a bi-partisan basis to find real solutions to protecting America’s most valuable asset – our children.

“Attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation. Only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy.”

From Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, who has introduced a bill to regulate ammunition sales in California:

“I applaud President Obama for presenting a comprehensive plan that will help reduce the gun violence ravaging our communities and, hopefully, stop the rash of mass shootings that have become an all-too-common occurrence.

“California has tough gun laws but our ability to address gun violence is undermined when one can bypass California rules by crossing state lines. Federal action is needed to ensure the effectiveness of our state laws.

“As public opinion shows, strong support for gun control exists nationally in favor of enforcement and regulations to bulletproof our communities from devastating gun violence.”

From Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms:

“Suddenly Mr. Obama wants to get more criminal and mental health records into the NICS background check data base and get a permanent director for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Where has he been for the last four years?

“Perhaps he was too busy during his first term, while his administration was running thousands of assault rifles, millions of rounds of ammunition and countless high capacity magazines to violent criminals and drug cartel thugs through his administration’s Fast & Furious program. Now he wants to take away our Second Amendment rights when he and his friends have put more assault weapons in the wrong hands than all of organized crime?

“These firearms have been used not only to kill a Border Patrol agent, but also hundreds of people including women and children. This policy has resulted in more deaths and carnage than all the mass shootings in the United States in last ten years.

“The measures being proposed by the president will not prevent a repeat of the Sandy Hook tragedy, and he knows it. The initials ‘B. O.’ stand for more than Barack Obama. They stand for the bad odor of his blame game.”

Lots more, after the jump…

From U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.:

“I have deep respect and admiration for President Obama and Vice President Biden for the comprehensive and commonsense reforms they outlined this morning. They spoke with conviction and compassion for the victims of gun violence in this country, and I applaud them for tackling this plague of violence with the urgency it deserves.

“The executive actions and proposals announced today will dramatically improve the background check system, protect law enforcement and resume gun violence research in this country.

“Finally, I support the president’s call to reinstate the ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. He was exactly right when he said ‘weapons designed for the theater of war have no place’ in our society. I couldn’t agree more. These weapons have one purpose: to kill the most people in the shortest amount of time possible.

“Next week, Senate and House cosponsors will introduce legislation to prohibit the sale, transfer, manufacture and importation of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition feeding devices that carry more than 10 rounds. I hope that Chairman Leahy will hold hearings on this bill in the Judiciary Committee as soon as possible.”

From House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco:

“President Obama’s proposals reflect a series of clear and concrete steps in the effort to rein in, reduce, and prevent gun violence in our country. The President’s executive actions are critical to our response; they are necessary; but, as the President said, they are not sufficient.

“Congress must do its part, without further delay, to strengthen background checks and take the most dangerous weapons and assault magazines out of the hands of those in greatest danger of doing harm to themselves and to others. For the families of the victims of Sandy Hook, of every massacre and every incident of gun violence, there is simply no time to waste.

“As the President declared, with the Newtown shootings fresh in our minds, ‘this time must be different.’ With the comprehensive agenda laid out by President Obama today, we can work together to ensure that this time will, indeed, be different.”

From Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez:

“I applaud President Obama for moving so quickly to develop a comprehensive plan to reduce gun violence in the United States and in our schools. I support his proposal and urge Congress to work quickly to pass it. I also look forward to working with Chairman Kline and Members of our committee on sensible steps to increase safety in our schools to ensure our children’s days are spent learning and growing, not in fear for their lives. Nothing is more important than the safety of our children. We must act now.”

From Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose:

“President Obama’s strong announcement of a comprehensive set of gun violence proposals comes at a critical juncture in the debate over violence that has raged in our country over the past few years. The President is setting the tone on what kind of nation we want to be in the future. Rather than focusing only on small reachable goals, he has presented a comprehensive uniform vision. From mental health, to gun control, to school safety, to law enforcement, he is attacking the problem from all sides.

“By proposing a mix of executive and legislative actions, he is also showing seriousness on the issue. I agree with the President’s push to not only renew the assault weapons ban, but to strengthen it. Similarly, his call to fix the gaping holes in our background check system, provide the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives the tools it needs to do its job, and finally modernize our gun trafficking laws, are equally important.

“I was especially heartened to hear his passionate proposal on mental health parity. As a Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science, the former Chair of the Committee on Public Safety in the California Assembly, I’ve been on the front line working tirelessly on these issues for decades. States operating alone and incremental federal approaches are not the answer. Solutions to these problems must be comprehensive, with a broad vision for the future, a vision that our President has provided and is leading on. The coming weeks will be instrumental in turning back the tide of violence in our country and I look forward to the President’s leadership.”

From state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francsico, author of legislation to close the “bullet button” loophole in California’s assault weapons law:

“I commend President Obama and Vice President Biden for their swift action and common sense measures to reduce gun violence. The President’s executive orders will begin to address the underlying problems behind the rise in mass shootings and help protect our children. Now, it is imperative that Congress also act to safeguard the public from assault weapons, eliminate high capacity magazines, fully fund mental health programs, and require a comprehensive background check on all gun sales.

“As the President said, it is our first task as a society and our top responsibility as a nation to care for our children and to keep them safe. In California, we are prepared to do that by strengthening our state laws and eliminating loopholes in our assault weapon ban.”

From California Right to Carry president Charles Nichols:

“President Obama’s much hyped proposals were revealed this morning and despite all of the doomsday prophecies to the contrary, Mr. Obama all but conceded defeat.

“His 23 executive orders which call for spending about $5 billion dollars he probably doesn’t have the authority to spend without congressional approval are mostly symbolic. Mr. Obama recognized that he does not have the authority to implement his gun bans by executive order. Gun bans must come from congress which he acknowledged wasn’t going to happen unless gun owners contact their congressmen to support the bans saying:
‘…the only way we can change is if the American people demand it. And by the way, that doesn’t just mean from certain parts of the country. We’re going to need voices in those areas and those congressional districts where the tradition of gun ownership is strong to speak up and to say this is important. It can’t just be the usual suspects.’

“That isn’t going to happen. The only ones calling for gun bans since Newtown have been the ‘usual suspects’ whom have been demanding gun bans for years.

“There will be a few states which will enact additional gun bans to what they already have on the books, New York was the first and California is certain to follow. The problem these states have is that there is little left for them to ban. California’s 1989 “assault weapon” ban is already being challenged in Federal Court and California already has magazine bans in place. So far this session, the liberal lefty Democrats in Sacramento have introduced four gun control bills.

“By the time any of these bills are passed into law later this year, we will most likely have a decision from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals establishing a framework for determining which gun control laws are constitutional and which are not. The Federal Courts outside of the 9th Circuit have developed a couple of different tests for judging gun control bills and outright bans on semi-automatic rifles and magazines will fail those tests unless the 9th Circuit comes up with something completely different.

“Regardless, the US Supreme Court will have the final say and according to Justice Scalia who wrote the landmark 2008 Heller decision, the Supreme Court hasn’t even decided the question of whether shoulder fired missiles which can bring down an airliner are protected by the Second Amendment or not.”

From U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.:

“The common-sense steps outlined by the President today are a fitting tribute to the victims of gun violence. I am heartened that the President is taking executive action to curb gun violence, including steps to immediately improve background checks, enhance security in schools and meet mental health challenges.

“The President also rightly called on Congress to do its part to help prevent guns from getting into the hands of the mentally ill and criminals, keep weapons of war and high-capacity magazines off our streets and protect our children while they are at school.

“Congress has a responsibility to act as well. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the rest of the President’s proposals, which I am pleased include elements of my school safety plan.”

From Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Dublin:

“President Obama said, ‘Now is the Time’ for gun safety, and I could not agree more. The President has put together a bold plan to reduce gun violence and Congress needs to enact the legislation called for, like the ban on assault weapons, without delay. We cannot just sit on the sidelines and wait for another tragedy to happen. It is long overdue for Members of both parties to rise above partisan differences and do what is right to protect the American people.”

From Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo:

“I will do everything in my power to see that Congress passes effective gun responsibility laws. Failure is not an option for me. Frankly, the miracle that put me here today —surviving five point blank shots — is the driving force behind my 24/7 dedication to reduce gun violence in the most gun violent nation of the world’s 23 wealthiest countries.

“We must pledge to achieve everything in the President’s plan. Collectively, as Americans, we have the blood on our hands of the 12 moviegoers who were killed in Aurora, Colorado, the six Sikh worshippers shot down while praying in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, the 20 innocent first graders and six school employees who lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and the more than 900 people who have been killed by guns since the massacre in Newton, Connecticut.

“We must keep assault weapons and high capacity magazines away from criminals and those with criminal intentions and we must make sure that everyone who purchases a gun undergoes a rigorous background check.

“In Congress, a great number of my colleagues have been cowed by the gun lobby. Across the country, responsible gun owners have been quiet about the need for common sense solutions. As the President implored, now is the time for all Americans to call for action for common sense gun laws.

“In addition to supporting President Obama’s proposals, I will introduce my own legislation to reduce and prevent gun crime in the U.S.”

From Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland:

“I am encouraged by the actions taken by President Obama today to protect our children and communities from gun violence. However, there is much more work to be done in Congress and I will continue to fight for common sense solutions to the violence that plagues our nation and our communities.

“Congress needs swiftly act to require background checks for all gun sales, reinstate the ban on high-capacity magazines, renew and strengthen the ban on assault weapons, improve mental health services and support comprehensive violence prevention efforts. We also need a federal gun buy-back program and believe we must also enforce existing laws by investing in our law enforcement agencies to help get guns off the streets.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • John W

    All good but not holding my breath. I’m glad the ideas Obama and Biden put forth include actions to address the daily gun carnage in in places like Oakland and Chicago, especially the issue of interstate gun trafficking. Why the NRA would be against stopping straw buyers from “legally” purchasing stockpiles of guns that end up being sold out of car trunks in the cities is beyond me.

  • Rosalea

    There is only one executive order that President Obama needed to sign: All guns not issued to members of the military for use in the line of duty must be painted Sandy Hook Pink in the interests of public safety.

  • Elwood

    Other Tyrants Who Have Used Children As Props






    Obama makes me proud to be an American. Not.

  • Alcoahead

    “…tyrants and dictators have used kids as props down through the ages….”

    Oh, yes, indeedy, they have.

    And your point was?

    Oh, right. When your guys do it, it’s called “leadership!!!”, and when the other guys do it, it’s called “communism!!!”.

  • RR senile columnist

    If Bobbi Lee were to stroll along a few choice streets in her district at night, she would welcome protection from “children.”

  • Bruce R. Peterson, Lafayette

    At least gun control is a more exciting topic than abortion, to get people riled up. Here I am in Karl Rove’s class room. Karl taught me how ridiculous the gun control ideas are. Now Elwood has taught me how easy it is to have children pose with a tyrant. I suspect all of the crying children got excluded from the photo op. They would have cut the cameras, if a child told the President he smelled like an ashtray.

  • JohnW

    Josh Richman — excellent front page story by Josh in Friday’s paper about the difficulty of classifying what does or doesn’t constitute an “assault rifle” for gun law purposes. Well researched. Well written. Good pictures.

  • Josh Richman

    Thanks, John.

  • Bruce R. Peterson, Lafayette

    Thanks Josh. Your story in the CC Times was nearly identical to Karl Rove’s lesson on Fox news.

  • Elwood

    No rifles were used in the Sandy Hook slayings. Zero. None. Not one, assault hunting or otherwise. Yet our fearless leader, sycophantic dimmiecrat politicians, and the lap dog media are all in a lather to ban “assault rifles”, whatever they may be.

    Ridiculous, pathetic, incompetent bumbling fools.


    And at least six other sources on Google.

    And why is the rodeo clown media silent on this? Because they don’t want to make themselves, fearless leader and the dimmiecrats look foolish?

  • JohnW

    Re: #10

    NBC did not “admit” to anything.

    If the shooter didn’t take the AR15 into the school, that seems like a significant piece of information. So, I was curious as to why I couldn’t find any mention of it online except by various conservative websites. So, I listened to the video and realized that it was done the day of the shooting or perhaps the day after. In other words, at a time when there was lots of confusion; and the media were still trying to nail down the facts.

    So, whether or not an AR 15 was actually used or left in the car as the NBC report states, NBC did not “admit” to anything. They simply reported on the information that was available to them at the moment.

    Surely, there must be some more recent report from the investigation on exactly what weapons were used. However, even if it is true that he did not take the AR 15 into the school (and that’s not clear to me at this point one way or the other), it doesn’t really mean anything in terms of the debate about whether there should be new restrictions on that type of weapon.

  • JohnW

    Elwood, it seems you have fed us some bad propaganda. Apparently in response to the misinformation being disseminated by various blogs, the Connecticut State Police posted an update yesterday, 1/18 at 3:40 pm local time, listing exactly what weapons were seized inside the school and which were found in the suspect’s car in the parking lot. As you will see from the below link, the first “in the school” item listed is the Bushmaster .223 caliber – model XM15 E2S rifle with high capacity 30 round clips.


  • Elwood

    Well, looks like the rodeo clown media got it wrong again.

    Not having been there at the time, they’re all I have to go by.

  • Josh Richman

    True, the media got it wrong in the first day or two, and there’s no excuse for that at all. Being first is no accomplishment if you’re wrong.

    That said, many bloggers have purposefully spread the incorrect info ever since to fit their ideological agenda, thus misleading folks like Elwood. To me, intentional lying is far worse than reporting mistaken information you at least honestly thought to be true.

  • Dave Pastor

    Through all of the garbage being spouted by the politicians and the media, somehow you received permission to describe what an “assault weapon” really is. If you ask the “man/woman in the street” what an assault weapon is, you will likely hear that it is a machine gun and must be banned. The second item you will hear is that the polls show that most people want more gun control. Again, ask the question as to what laws are already on the books, and you will get a blank stare. The people who want more control do not own a gun or have not purchased a gun in recent memory. My father took me to the local hardware store to buy his hunting rifle. Even you get confused. Your description of a California illegal firearm describes it as an assault rifle.

    Just a couple of points, The 1984 magazine advertised a book called Assault Firearms. Unfortunately, Amazon does not list this book so I cannot review it. Even if this was the genesis of “assault weapon”, which I doubt, it did not demonize the gun, and certainly did not call for its elimination. Senator Feinstein said that she let her fingers walk through a gun catalog to find the ones she didn’t like.

    The FBI stated that any good to come out of the 1994 ban was too small to be measured. The number of “assault weapons” used in gun crimes – I never heard of an assault pistol before. was .05% of firearm crimes. The statistics that I have read about the Australian gun “buyback???” is as follows. Since the gun ban, Armed Robberies up 69%; Assaults w/Guns up 28%; Gun Murders up 19% and Home Invasions up 21%. The scariest statistic is the increase of “hot” burglaries (someone known to be home).

    Two thoughts. 1. The Colorado shooter passed up 6 theaters closer to home to go the only “gun free” zone.
    2. Doping up kids and adults who do not fit the “normal” pattern could be a contributing cause. Just look at the television drug adds “if you have suicidal thoughts stop taking this medicine and call your doctor”. Right!!!

    Thanks again for a ray of light out of the darkness of propaganda.

  • JohnW

    Five people injured in accidental gun discharges at three gun shows. I’m beginning to think that Karma and Darwin may be part of the solution. Perhaps these people were the school janitors that some people have suggested be armed. I’m actually in favor of that. Could do wonders for reducing graffiti on school bathroom walls.


  • Elwood

    What’s an assault rifle? It’s not an AR15.


  • Elwood

    @ John W #15

    Ah, the Huffy Post! Always a fine objective source.

    You can’t fix stupid. Some people will accidentally cut their throats with a butter knife.

  • Alcoahead

    @17 —

    Says the “man” (in quotes, for good measure) who quotes regularly from infowars.com.

  • Elwood

    “An assault rifle is a selective fire (selective between fully automatic, semi-automatic, and burst fire) rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine.”


    Well, there goes your evil, scary looking AR15 which is semi-auto only. By the way AR stands for Armolite, the first manufacturer of the weapon, not “assault rifle” as so many of the poorly informed folk believe.

  • Josh Richman

    “Assault rifle” and “assault weapon” aren’t interchangeable terms.

  • Elwood

    @ Josh #21

    You are correct, sir!

    Who said they were?

  • Elwood

    “In more casual usage, the term “assault weapon” is sometimes conflated with the term “assault rifle”. An assault rifle is a military rifle that utilizes an intermediate-power cartridge, and that generally is capable of full-automatic fire, where multiple rounds are fired continuously when the trigger is pulled one time — that is, a machine gun — or burst capable, where a burst of several rounds is fired when the trigger is pulled one time.[8] In the United States, full-automatic firearms are heavily restricted, and regulated by federal laws such as the National Firearms Act of 1934, as well as some state and local laws.

    The use of the term “assault weapon” is also highly controversial, as critics assert that the term is a media invention,[9] or a term that is intended to cause confusion among the public by intentionally misleading the public to believe that assault weapons (as defined in legislation) are fully-automatic firearms when they are not.[10]”


  • Josh Richman

    Sorry, I misunderstood what you were saying.

  • Bruce R. Peterson, Lafayette

    You guys are more fun than infowars.com. More intelligent too.

  • Elwood

    I have at my fingertips a machine which contains all the knowledge in the universe.

    I use it to look at pictures of cats and argue with strangers.

  • RR senile columnist

    How come people felt safer in the Ike years when gun laws were weak outside a few big cities? Huh?

  • JohnW

    Re 27

    Ike years vs now.

    Doubling the population from 150 million or so to more than 300 million could have something to do with it. That has all kinds of socio-economic side effects. Add 300 million guns, legal or not, to the mix and you get some interesting results.

  • RR Senile Columnist

    Very clever, Mr Chan! You make interesting points but leave unanswered the phenomenon of cold-blooded massacres. Mr and Mrs Suburban aren’t worried about inner city violence.

  • JohnW

    Yes, street gun violence and killing sprees in the ‘burbs are seemingly different problems calling for different solutions. My observation is mostly related to the first, where most of the killing occurs (about 900 gun homicides since Sandy Hook). But something accounts for the mental health issues that are manifested in the killing sprees; though I wouldn’t presume to say exactly what that something is. Water fluoridation, I guess! But a country awash in guns and a culture of guns and violence is something both situations share.