The debate over gun control has been raging in recent weeks, a debate with only pundits, lawmakers, and lobbyists on both sides left to tire themselves out before the argument subsides. Viable arguments, some written beautifully on our very own PolicyMic, for and against gun control have been laid out, and the stage has been set for action with the Obama administration nestled into a second term in the White House, the 113th Congress sworn in, and public interest still relatively committed to the gun control question that has arisen out of the aftermath of years worth of national attention gun violence incidents. With Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) pushing for the renewal of her 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, it seems like the politically opportune time for Feinstein and President Obama to pressure Democrats to pass gun regulation legislation.
The 11th hour “end” to America’s least favorite cliff has bought Washington an essential two months to negotiate the impending, and potentially more harmful, debt ceiling problem. This leaves an incredibly small window to pass meaningful legislation that pertains to anything other than $16.4 trillion national debt and spending cuts. Democrats are already dealing with staunch conservative values when it comes to budgetary talks. Wait again until March and another round of frustration might just push back any chance of bi-partisanship goodwill and cooperation. Negotiating before the inevitable debt-ceiling impasse could reduce the (still strong) chances of non-cooperation, for the 113th Congress does not want to follow its predecessors as polarized and incapable of action.
Furthermore, President Obama’s White House press statement hours after the Newtown shooting promising “meaningful action” and his powerful Newtown Sunday address have not been lost on the American public. From his moderate victory over the fiscal cliff, Obama has the earned political capital and some goodwill to push Feinstein’s bill. In addition, Obama can stave off some of his criticisms of “not being liberal enough” by aiding Senator Feinstein in gun control law so elusive to Democrats since Bush’s tenure. And amidst his second term in office, the legacy-conscious president is certainly looking to change the narrative on second-term presidencies – ones often bereft of meaningful domestic policy.
The Second Amendment discussion can happen without discussing automatic assault weapons capable of taking mass amounts of life in a short term. You don't need an assault weapon for protection. You'd only need that to take life, and lots of them. The time is now for gun control reform if there is going to be any change in the near future. Granted the passing of anything involving guns will come with heavy political backlash, but there will be major backlash anyway with the balanced budget talks and national debt in the spring. Democrats should push for this now because it is a much-needed chance at reshaping the gun debate.