The political talk, and attempted action, can come hot and fast regarding guns when someone misuses them in a horrible way that makes national news, as in San Bernardino yesterday.
From Congress, The Hill reports:
Senate Democrats are planning to offer a series of gun control amendments during the Thursday vote-a-rama on the chamber's highly anticipated budget bill.
A group, led by the chamber's No. 2 Democrat Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), announced Thursday that they would be forcing votes on measures such as universal background checks, just one day after 14 people died in a massacre in Southern California.
"Enough is enough. Senate Democrats are not waiting one more day. Today's the day we act," Schumer said at a briefing, flanked by a half-dozen other vocal gun control advocates.
"The entire country will know where every member of the Senate stands on tightening background checks, on keeping guns out of the hands of terrorists and on strengthening and improving mental health in this country," he continued.
The amendments will be offered as part of the GOP reconciliation bill that intends to repeal major pieces of ObamaCare and defund Planned Parenthood.
The special budget bill has been months in the making, giving Republicans their first chance to send an anti-ObamaCare bill to President Obama's desk.
Now, the Republican senators' votes on the gun control amendment votes — as well as their positions on ObamaCare — will likely become fodder for the upcoming campaign season.
There is no reason to believe, given what we know now, that any of those laws would have had any effect on preventing yesterday's crime, even if one believed that laws were impossible to break. And the politics of guns even after public massacres isn't as solid as Schumer thinks in support of these sort of clearly feckless "tougher laws."
And President Obama, strongly desiring that California's already existing universal background check laws go national, doesn't think he even needs to care about Congress, as the Los Angeles Times reports today:
White House officials have been trying to draft an executive order that would effectively reinterpret existing law to require all or most [gun] sales to go through the background check system.
But despite Obama's visible frustration with the lack of action on guns, figuring out a solution has proved complicated. Many had expected the White House to announce plans for an executive order in time for the anniversary on Dec. 14 of the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut. That now seems less likely…. White House officials and their allies continue to see expanding the background check system as the most promising avenue to reduce at least some of the deaths caused by guns.
But not this one, or any of the mediagenic horrible mass gun killings of recent times. Still:
"That work includes looking at the gun show loophole," said one White House official involved in the work. "But taking administrative action in this space is enormously complicated, with complex and intertwined policy, legal and operational considerations to take into account."
"That process," the official said, "is very much underway."