You think the Democrats are anxious to charge once more into the gun control lists? Think again. Byron York reports that President Obama has sidelined any move toward new gun legislation, at least for the time being, with Washington’s hoariest delay tactic:
With President Obama’s announcement of a commission to study and recommend ways to reduce gun violence, the two most important Democrats in government — Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid — have both indicated a desire to slow the momentum toward gun control in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut school shootings. The president’s decision to appoint a blue-ribbon panel — the classic Washington ploy to defuse and delay consideration of an issue — along with Reid’s inaction on the gun question will undoubtedly frustrate many in their party who want immediate action.
The commission is supposed to report in January, and Obama vows that it won’t be “something where folks are going to be studying the issue for six months and publishing a report that gets read and then pushed aside.” Like, say, Simpson-Bowles. But the effect of Obama’s action is obvious:
Obama’s move will likely dissipate the energy behind gun control advocacy on Capitol Hill. It’s unlikely that even the most pro-gun-control Democrats would want to get out in front of the Biden Commission and pass specific measures. And the political world, and the emotional intensity behind the gun issue, could be quite different even a month from now. So Obama is stopping Democratic momentum, and he knows it.
Harry Reid has no intention of doing anything on guns, either. This exchange is priceless:
QUESTION: What gun control measures would you support going forward?
REID: I watched the prayers, I watched everything that took place in Connecticut Sunday night. No one law can erase evil; that’s what the president said, and he’s right. But we need to accept the reality that we’re not doing enough to protect our citizens. I’m very happy that the president’s going to do everything he can administratively. We must engage on a thoughtful debate about how to change laws and culture that allow violence not continue to grow. Every idea should be on the table as we discuss how best to keep our children safe.
QUESTION: Can you speak specifically [about any] particular gun control measure?
REID: No. No, I’ve been very clear here. I think we have to have a full discussion.
I’m not sure whether Obama has seen poll data he doesn’t like, or is just being cautious and wants to let a few months go by before taking the public’s temperature on the issue. But for now, at least, he has stopped any movement toward increased gun regulation in its tracks.