washingtonpost.com — In 1996, after a mass shooting left 35 dead, Australia’s conservative and proudly conventional prime minister, John Howard, presided over a National Firearms Agreement that fundamentally altered his country’s relationship to such weapons. And it’s working. The lesson of Australia is that Obama will lose only if he fails to grasp this once-in-a-lifetime chance to put a permanent end to our debilitating passivity in the face of gun violence. Neither he nor we can allow our attention to waver until the task is completed.
nextnewdeal.net — That didn’t last nearly as long as I had hoped. I put on my Obama baseball cap – the one I picked up from a street vendor walking to the inauguration four years ago – a few weeks before the November election. I’ve worn it every day since, to both celebrate his victory and cheer on the president for keeping to a progressive promise in the fiscal negotiations. Part of that promise was telling the DesMoines Register that Social Security benefits should not be cut. But it looks like my cap is going back on the shelf if reports that Obama is willing to cut Social Security benefits prove to be true.
thedailybeast.com — Appointing a task force on guns seems a little mealy-mouthed to me. Obama is putting Joe Biden in charge, and this is the kind of thing that a former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee just might be able to do with aplomb, but still...Strike while the iron is hot, sez I. Obama's style is to be deliberative, gather evidence. It's a lot better than shooting from the hip on general principle. But sometimes there's a public mood out just waiting to be caught and exploited before it dissipates and before the opponents can confuse and redirect it. Right now, there is an opportunity to make a very simple and straightforward statement: We need far, far tougher regulations on the kinds of guns that exist only to kill large numbers of human beings very quickly, and the ammunition that goes in them.
truthdig.com — Despite the horror of the Sandy Hook Elementary School slaughter, politicians approaching proposals for stronger gun regulation remain stricken with caution and fear of the National Rifle Association and its allies. Wary of the NRA and its deep-pocket gun and ammunition-manufacturing supporters, gun control advocates are offering only mild proposals. Yet, despite the fear the organization generates, the NRA’s reputation as a political juggernaut may be overrated. It lost big campaigns in the last election even though it poured millions of dollars into them.
prospect.org — The horrific mass killing of elementary schoolchildren in Newtown, Connecticut has served as another reminded that the United States is an unusually violent country. And the evidence is overwhelming that lax regulations of private firearms plays a major role in this unnecessarily high rate of violent death. And yet, it is very unlikely that any federal legislation will be passed in response to the Newtown killings, let alone regulations comparable to those in other liberal democracies. To many progressives, the reason for this is clear: the Second Amendment to the Constitution, which must be repealed for any real progress to gun control to take place. But to blame the Second Amendment for terrible American gun control policies is highly misleading. The Bill of Rights is not the primary political barrier to better gun control policies, and in any political universe in which repealing the Second Amendment was even thinkable such a repeal would be superfluous.
policyshop.net — An emphatic belief in individual rights is one of the greatest strengths of America, and also its greatest flaw. In any rational society, my neighbor shouldn't be able to keep a small arsenal of high-powered automatic weapons sitting around the house. And certainly not if she is living with her disturbed son. That is a threat to public safety, as we learned horribly on Friday. But if it seems obvious to some of us, in the aftermath of the Newtown massacre, that individual rights have gone too far when it comes to guns, this reality is not yet a starting point for public policy. We'll hear a lot in coming weeks about assault rifles, background checks, waiting periods, magazine clip size, and so on. Yet to really win the argument for stronger gun control, we need to question the underlying belief that individual freedom is more important than the common good.
truthdig.com — We are not helpless to stop the massacre of innocent children. We must begin—today, right now, this minute—taking guns out of the hands of madmen, and the first step should be a ban on military-style assault weapons such as the rifle used to turn a Connecticut school into a slaughterhouse. That won’t be enough to end all the carnage, but it will save some lives. It is admirable that President Obama, members of Congress and other elected officials are deeply horrified and saddened by what happened Friday in Newtown. But the moment calls for action, not words, and politicians who are too craven or stupid or ideologically rigid to finally move forward on gun control will have the blood of future victims on their hands. We must begin with the guns.
huffingtonpost.com — We are hearing advice from child advocates, counselors and therapists to talk to our kids, love them, hug them and tell them that they are safe. We've done a lot of that -- loving, hugging and talking with our boys Luke and Jack over the weekend. And I know many other parents are doing the same thing. But... we really can't honestly just tell our children that they are safe. This year, children have been so randomly and unexpectedly shot in their schools, in movie theaters, at malls and on street corners across the nation -- places that any of our kids could be at any time. They are not safe. This crisis will not be healed or solved until parents begin a national conversation about what will keep our children safe in this country, at least more safe than they are today.
huffingtonpost.com — "Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?" That sentence, uttered by President Obama in his Newtown Address, may turn out to be a turning point in American history. The president, in one sentence, turned the beautiful faces of the 20 first-grade children murdered brutally by assault weapons into the moral measure of our nation. Conservatives have argued that guns = freedom, and that there should be no limit on such freedom. The president trumped their argument: The price of not protecting the nations' children is too high. Permitting the mass murder of our children is not freedom.