SF Chronicle: liberal paper doesn't think VT shooting will create gun laws


April 18, 2007, 11:29 AM
The San Francisco Chrinicle...possibly the most liberal paper in the most liberal part of the country...just posted this article in the on-line edition. Net-net, while laws will be proposed, they don't think there is a high probability signfiicant new restrictions will come out of it.

They do take the time to have a few sneering remarks and act incredulous that gun bans wouldn't be pushed through immediately. Also, they only quote a few politicians and then anti-gunners. I didn't see any gun-rights activist quoted (surprise, surprise)


GUN CONTROL: Democrats, eyes on majority, apt to go slow on restrictions
Partisans voice varied opinions on impact of Virginia massacre on national debate
Edward Epstein, Carla Marinucci, Chronicle Political Writers

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Virginia Tech campus massacre may reignite a national debate over gun control, but with an election year looming and a powerful gun lobby geared for battle, Democrats probably will be reluctant to push such a divisive issue that could threaten their control of Congress and effort to win back the White House.

"Democrats tend to be worried about their electoral prospects with the gun-owning public,'' said Bob Levy, a senior fellow and constitutional scholar with the conservative CATO Institute, a Washington think tank. "They haven't been particularly vocal, because they understand that people in this country want their guns.''

But Ladd Everitt of the Coalition to End Gun Violence said American voters, battered by the painful replays of Virginia Tech and other shooting deaths, want action.

"I don't know what the tipping point is,'' he said. "At some point, the public will just have to stand up and say 'enough.' ''

The White House reaction this week to a question about gun control relating to the campus tragedy underscored President Bush's support for and from gun owners -- a vital constituency for the Republican Party.

"The president believes that there is a right for people to bear arms, but that all laws must be followed," spokeswoman Dana Perino said Monday afternoon.

On the Democratic side, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein expressed her sorrow and issued a statement saying she hoped that the killings would "reignite the dormant effort to pass commonsense gun control regulations in this country.''

Feinstein, who sponsored the 1994 federal assault weapons ban that expired in 2004, was joined in the effort by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., whose husband was killed and son wounded by a shooter in 1996 on a Long Island commuter train.

McCarthy, who was elected to the House on a strong gun control platform, admitted the matter is "a tough sell," even in the wake of the national trauma over the worst massacre by a single gunman in American history.

Politicians in Congress aren't the only ones struggling with the issue: on the presidential candidate stage, Republican former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has spoken in favor of gun control in the past; former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney recently declared himself a "lifelong" hunter and National Rifle Association member.

GOP consultant Dan Schnur said that "for years, half of the political world has rushed to gun control as the answer, and the other half has rushed to tougher penalties for criminals using guns -- and never the twain shall meet.''

Because the 2008 presidential election campaign is already underway, Schnur said, "The candidate who does the best job of bridging that debate is the one who benefits.''

The Democratic mood on Capitol Hill Tuesday, just 24 hours after the Virginia Tech killings, was pragmatic about gun control. Lawmakers said the shootings will revive interest in legislation, but they said they will move cautiously before pushing ahead into a politically volatile area.

Gun control divides Democrats in Congress, and it is an issue that anti-gun-control Republicans have used effectively in House and Senate races. In the Democratic-controlled House, where the party's majority is due in part to victories in November in conservative to moderate districts formerly represented by Republicans, the party's winning candidates often campaigned as advocates of gun owners' rights.

Leadership aides concede privately that leaders are unlikely to push major gun control legislation because keeping the majority depends on re-electing members from districts where gun control is a losing issue.

"The country and the Congress will have additional discussions, as is always the case, after these incidents,'' House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland told reporters. "But right now we're focused on the incident itself.

"I don't want to get into a debate about what we need to do less than 24 hours after the incident. We need to focus on the victims of this tragedy, on the students, the teachers and their families.''

Senate Majority leader Harry Reid of Nevada agreed, saying, "I hope there's not a rush to do anything. We need to take a deep breath.''

He said he wanted local, state and federal investigations to continue into the guns, the ammunition and the shooter in the Virginia Tech killings before pushing any legislation. But Reid spoke favorably about a bill sponsored by California Sen. Barbara Boxer to improve school safety.

Boxer said the latest university killings have motivated her to push that bill, which she has introduced in past Congresses.

"Virginia Tech reminds all of us that our kids are at risk in schools,'' she said.

She said Congress should look at two issues, "guns that are in the wrong hands, and security at these campuses.''

Democrats this week, however, recalled that Feinstein's assault weapons ban was allowed to lapse before the 2004 election, even though Bush said he would sign an extension if the Republican Congress sent him such legislation. The widespread view was that the GOP Congress blocked an extension of the ban so the president wouldn't have to upset the gun lobby by signing it or gun control advocates by going back on his pledge.

Even Feinstein didn't spell out exactly what she would like to see done.

"Down the road, we should learn more about this crime, how it was perpetrated, and what lessons can be learned from it," she said Tuesday.

Everitt, of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, said there are reasons for gun reform groups to be optimistic. He noted 188 mayors in 44 states organized to push for gun control, and cited efforts by New York's McCarthy to improve background checks on guns sales. He also said there was hope for more support on behalf of legislation -- already enacted in California -- to "close the gun-show loophole," which allows buyers in 33 states, including Virginia, to buy guns at such expositions "without background checks or paperwork, cash and carry and (in many cases) you don't have to fill out a form.''

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April 18, 2007, 11:39 AM
I think, and have posted, that while it's still in their favor, they don't have the shock and quite the same media favor they used to.

That said, I've noticed Rosie is trying to pull the "us gun controllers are the underdogs" tactic, that may become widespread too.

"(We're the underdog, we only have 80% media instead of 105%)"

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