by David Safier
I didn't realize it when I first read Obama's op ed this morning, but it's a Star exclusive. Best guess is, since he spoke in Tucson after the shooting at Giffords' January 8 event, he decided to begin his campaign for gun reform here.
The head is: We must seek agreement on gun reforms. After quite a bit of talk about how we agree that guns are part of our culture but we must keep them out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill, Obama lists three very mild reforms.
- "First, we should begin by enforcing laws that are already on the books. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System is the filter that's supposed to stop the wrong people from getting their hands on a gun. Bipartisan legislation four years ago was supposed to strengthen this system, but it hasn't been properly implemented. It relies on data supplied by states – but that data is often incomplete and inadequate. We must do better."
- "Second, we should in fact reward the states that provide the best data – and therefore do the most to protect our citizens."
- "Third, we should make the system faster and nimbler. We should provide an instant, accurate, comprehensive and consistent system for background checks to sellers who want to do the right thing, and make sure that criminals can't escape it."
It's a bit timid — not even a mention of checks at gun shows. But that's Obama's point:
"Clearly, there's more we can do to prevent gun violence. But I want this to at least be the beginning of a new discussion on how we can keep America safe for all our people."
"We owe the victims of the tragedy in Tucson and the countless unheralded tragedies each year nothing less than our best efforts – to seek consensus, to prevent future bloodshed, to forge a nation worthy of our children's futures."