WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 12: U.S. President Barack Obama gestures after delivering remarks at the Diplomatic Corps Holiday Reception on December 19, 2012 in Washington, D.C. President Obama announced that he is making an administration-wide effort to solve gun violence and has tapped Vice President Joseph Biden to lead the effort in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. (Photo by Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)
Updated: January 22, 2013 6:25AM
“If we are not getting right the need to keep our children safe, then nothing else matters.”
— President Barack Obama, Dec. 19.
President Obama this week threw himself and the weight of his office behind an all-out effort to reduce gun violence in the United States.
Moms and dads across America breathed a momentary sigh of relief. Momentary, of course, because results are far from guaranteed.
But if there was ever a moment to make a difference — days after 20 first-graders were slaughtered in their classrooms — it is now.
Obama tasked Vice President Joe Biden with generating a set of proposals in a month. Biden and his working group are to consider gun-control legislation and executive action, as well as ways to improve access to mental health services and how to beat back the influence of violent images in our culture.
The last two are worthy of study and, without a doubt in the case of mental health access, worthy of action.
Thankfully, Obama said the gun conversation would be short.
When it comes to government action, Obama already knows what to do. The nation has been debating gun-control measures for decades, forever studying and talking, but always failing to take action.
The top items on the to-do list are ready to go:
◆ Reinstating — and improving — the federal assault weapons ban. Critics say such a ban wouldn’t have prevented the Newtown, Conn. shooting because the shooter’s rifle was allowed under the expired federal ban and Connecticut’s assault weapon ban. All the more reason to put in effect a much better ban.
◆ Banning high-capacity magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, such as the 30-round magazine used in Newtown.
◆ Requiring background checks for private gun sales.
Will new laws wipe out all gun violence? Of course not.
But imagine, for a moment, that your child was the one saved because the Newtown shooter had a slightly less powerful gun or 20 fewer rounds of ammunition.
Today’s the day to act.