The Washington Post floats a White House trial balloon suggesting that the Obama administration may go somewhat bold on guns in the next few weeks:
The White House is weighing a far broader and more comprehensive approach to curbing the nation's gun violence than simply reinstating an expired ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition, according to multiple people involved in the administration's discussions.I think all but the national database would be received quite favorably by the public. That doesn't mean that any of it can pass -- I think the most likely outcome is that none of it will pass, thanks to gun lobby pressure. The database, I think, is dead on arrival -- it will be portrayed as a nightmarish Orwellian intrusion on personal freedom, even though it would give the government about as much information about your guns as it already has about your house or your car (and, probably, less information than the average corporation has about everything you buy and everything you think, if you spend a lot of time online).
A working group led by Vice President Biden is seriously considering measures backed by key law enforcement leaders that would require universal background checks for firearm buyers, track the movement and sale of weapons through a national database, strengthen mental health checks, and stiffen penalties for carrying guns near schools or giving them to minors, the sources said.
There's an item in the Post story that's inspiring faux-horror among right-wingers:
One potential strategy would be to win support for specific measures from interest groups that are normally aligned with the NRA, according to one person who works closely with the administration on gun-related issues and who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the issue's sensitivity.Right-wingers should be cheering, no? They love Wal-Mart! They sneer at the sandal-wearing hippies who boycott it! They root for it to make more and more money!
For instance, this person suggested, Wal-Mart and other major gun retailers may have an incentive to support closing a loophole that allows people to bypass background checks if they purchase firearms at gun shows or through other types of private sales. That could result in more people buying guns in retail stores.
Well, no -- not if this happens. Groping for the fainting couch, Weasel Zippers and Joel Gehrke of The Washington Examiner rail against "crony capitalism." Gehrke:
President Obama plans to ally himself with big business once again by using crony capitalist tactics to pass gun control just as he used them to pass Obamacare. In this case, Obama reportedly plans to make sure that the new gun control law benefits big businesses that sell weapons....Yes, "ally[ing] himself with big business" is now a bad thing, according to the right! According to Weasel Zippers, it's "the Chicago way"!
Obama used the same tactic when passing his health care law, when Jim Messina (the White House deputy chief of staff, at the time, who went on to manage the 2012 presidential campaign) negotiated with the drug industry to get them to pay for pro-Obamacare television ads.
Personally, I don't like this approach -- but our political system is profoundly plutocrat-driven, and the American people have so much more respect for capitalists than they ought to, so I reluctantly accept the fact that such deals with devil will be made. The righties, by contrast, aren't fooling anyone: they love crony capitalism as long as their guys are practicing it.
And "the Chicago way"? Seriously? I thought "the Chicago way" was breaking the thumbs of businessmen if they refuse to pay protection money, not begging them to form coalitions.
It doesn't matter, of course, because the Wal-Mart thing isn't going to happen. Wal-Mart will never go along with it, because it doesn't want to be the next Smith & Wesson. Remember?
In March 2000 Smith & Wesson was the only major gun manufacturer to sign an agreement with the Clinton Administration. The company agreed to numerous safety and design standards as well as limits on the sale and distribution of its products. Gun clubs and gun rights groups responded to this agreement by initiating large-scale boycotts of Smith & Wesson by refusing to buy their new products and flooding the firearms market with used S&W guns. After a 40% sales slide, the sales impact from the boycotts led Smith & Wesson to suspend manufacturing at two plants.... [This] ended with the sale of Smith & Wesson to the Saf-T-Hammer Corporation. The new company (Smith and Wesson Holding Corporation), which publicly renounced the agreement, was received positively by the firearms community.(From Wikipedia; go to the link for sources.)
Will the gunners boycott Wal-Mart if it plays ball with the administration? Oh, hell yes. There's no way Wal-Mart will risk that. The idea is a non-starter. It's still the NRA's world; we just die in it.
(Post story via Memeorandum.)