A week after President Obama suggested that we as a nation should be ashamed of ourselves for forgetting about the Newtown tragedy so quickly, he plans to make a similar call for more gun control at a visit to a Colorado police academy on Wednesday. However, despite the president's ongoing effort to keep the campaign for reform alive, it seems increasingly unlikely that even some of the mildest federal gun control measures will pass. The NRA's lobbying efforts in Congress appear to be going over better than its disastrous public response to the Sandy Hook shooting, and the group is currently pushing language that would undercut the proposal to make gun trafficking a federal crime.
The Senate will start debating gun legislation when Congress returns from its two week Easter recess next week, and the Washington Post reports that senators are currently going over the legislative language with various interest groups, including the NRA and Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Last month the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a plan to increase penalties for straw purchases, or buying a gun for someone who can't pass a background check. According to the Post, NRA lobbyists are pushing a revision that would make it much harder to prosecute gun traffickers:
The NRA’s draft language would require law enforcement officials to prove that the straw purchaser had reason to believe the buyer was prohibited from obtaining guns or knew that the buyer intended to commit a crime, according to an analysis of the NRA proposal provided to The Washington Post by the Bloomberg-led mayors group.
The NRA says gun control advocates are misrepresenting a “discussion draft of the type that always circulates in the course of the legislative process.”
After essentially killing the assault weapons ban, Harry Reid said the Senate gun bill will include "the provisions on background checks, school safety and gun trafficking reported by the Judiciary Committee. While lawmakers say they're still trying to make a deal on universal background checks, a measure opposed by the NRA but supported by more than 90 percent of Americans, aides say there's been no progress in the past two weeks.
As for school safety, the NRA will be announcing a plan on Tuesday that spokesman Andrew Arulanandam says will "go beyond armed personnel" — though that's the only topic addressed in the brief details that have leaked. "Law enforcement officials will find training recommendations to prepare the armed guards who the organization believes should be available to schools," CNN reports. "State and local officials will find guidelines on how to alter their ordinances to permit the armed guards." We look forward to hearing the rest of the plan, and learning what gun measures Republican lawmakers won't feel compelled to filibuster.