Why gun control is unlikely

2013-01-18 15:27
President Barack Obama is flanked by young children as he signs an executive order designed to tackle gun control. (File, AFP)

President Barack Obama is flanked by young children as he signs an executive order designed to tackle gun control. (File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

  • The Amateur
    A gripping read that reveals never before published details about the Obama administration's... Now R321.00
    buy now

Chicago - President Barack Obama held a press conference on Wednesday outlining his administration's proposals to try and stem the USA's infamous gun violence problem.

Obama highlighted universal and improved background checks on people wishing to buy guns (currently only those who buy guns from official gun dealers undergo these evaluations), banning assault weapons and some kinds of ammunition, limiting capacity of magazines, and more. While some of his ideas sounded common-sensical, and others less so, it is unlikely much will happen on the gun control front.
 
For starters, it is worth pointing out that there remains a wave of public outrage at the killing of 20 children and six staff, at Sandy Hook Elementary School last month – this is a lot of the reason Obama is trying to move so fast: Capitalise on this national mood before it runs out.

It is no coincidence that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo rushed his state's brand new gun laws through within a month of the shooting in the state next door to his. Outrage has a finite lifespan. If Obama doesn't get this stuff through Congress quickly, it is likely support will begin to wane.
 
More importantly, though, is what will happen when this reaches Congress. There are two chambers in the US government. The lower chamber is the House of Representatives, controlled by Republicans, and the upper chamber is the Senate, controlled by Democrats.
 
The Democrat majority leader of the Senate, Harry Reid, has already publicly said he will not entertain any legislation that has no chance of passing the House of Representatives. Quite frankly, this is so that no Democrats in the Senate have any anti-gun votes on their record, unless they are totally necessary.

Election prospects

The House is likely to be much harder to get Obama's proposals through as Republicans hold a 33-seat majority, and many Democrats hail from rural areas where guns are popular. In fact, there is a significant school of thought that says the assault weapons ban signed by President Bill Clinton in 1994 cost the Democrats their majority in the House later that year.
 
Reid is correct to be worried. In the midterm elections in 2014, 33 Senators are up for re-election, and 20 of them are Democrats. Of those 20, six are Democrat seats from really conservative states (Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, and a seat being vacated in West Virginia by Jay Rockerfeller).

There's also Max Baucus of Montana whose election prospects may not be so dire, but it will be tight. Two of these Democrats (Johnson and Begich) are highly rated by the National Rifle Association and are unlikely to mess with that. Republican votes will likely be required to plug the gap created by gun-enthusiast Democrats.
 
And it isn't just Democrats up for re-election next: Democrats representing Pennsylvania, Indiana, North Dakota, Virginia, Missouri, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado and Michigan, all of where guns are popular, will be hesitant to lop crosses next to anything that is perceived as unfairly limiting gun ownership. And it's not like Republicans will be queuing up to replace them.
 
In the Senate there is a legislative trick in the minority party's arsenal called the filibuster – when enacted it means a three fifths vote is required to pass a piece of legislation, as opposed to a simple majority. If this happens, even if all Democrats vote for a piece of legislation (which they won't), five Republican votes will be required in the 100-member body, and that's as unlikely as a Bafana Bafana goal.
 
The most likely way forward will be at the state level, where action is happening in New York, Connecticut, Delaware and Maryland. Or the president signing an executive order.
 
Don't expect masses through the federal United States Congress.

Read more on:    barack obama  |  bill clinton  |  us  |  us school shooting  |  gun control
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
5 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Zille: Only DA can challenge ANC in F State

The DA is the only party that can challenge the ANC in the Free State, opposition party leader Helen Zille says.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Monday Sir Lowry's Pass - 16:54 PM
    Road name: N2 Westbound
    HEAVY TRAFFIC over Sir Lowrys Pass - expect delays
  • Monday Melkbosstrand - 16:47 PM
    Road name: R27 West Coast Road Southbound
    DELAYS approaching the Melkbos turning due to high volumes
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Canon EOS 600D

The Canon EOS 600D Digital Camera puts the widely respected...

From R5389.95

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There may be a break through, either through quiet contemplative time to connect to your deep side or forced on you by...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.