Political Animal


January 08, 2013 9:20 AM Gun Grabber

By Ed Kilgore

I’ll believe it when I see it, but a WaPo report over the weekend that a White House task force led by the vice president is considering “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” has certainly gotten the attention of the gun lobby.

TPM’s Evan McMorris-Santoro this morning quotes “gun rights” advocate Dave Workman as saying:

“They’re talking about banning millions of firearms,” he said. “The writing was on the wall when Joe Biden was put on that thing because he’s a gun grabber.”

Nobody’s actually talking about “banning millions of firearms,” though it’s a nice thought. Here’s what WaPo suggested:

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.

Given the NRA’s powerful hold on Congress (reflected by the immediately negative remarks about the administration’s efforts from newly elected Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota), it’s significant Biden’s group is looking at things that can be done administratively:

In addition to potential legislative proposals, Biden’s group has expanded its focus to include measures that would not need congressional approval and could be quickly implemented by executive action, according to interest-group leaders who have discussed options with Biden and key Cabinet secretaries. Possibilities include changes to federal mental-health programs and modernization of gun-tracking efforts by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

This is all producing the freakout the gun lobby has been anticipating lo these many years. But from the administration’s point of view, perhaps they figure that if Obama is going to be constantly accused, with zero evidence, of plotting a vast conspiracy to confiscate all guns before he imposes Shariah Law or whatever, he might as well advocate reasonable gun safety measures.

The flashpoint for the reaction to this development is likely to be Gun Appreciation Day, an event modeled on the Christian Right’s Chik-Fil-A Appreciation Day and scheduled for the weekend of the president’s inauguration.

Not sure how this is going to work, but the idea is more than a little scary. On Chik-fil-A Appreciation Day, supporters of “traditional marriage” were encouraged to visit one of the stores and stand up to Big Gay by brandishing fists full of sandwiches. I hope that on January 19 we’re not all dealing with every gun nut in America roaming the streets firing their weapons into the air like a scene from a bad western. But then I guess that would show the “gun grabber” Joe Biden who’s boss.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Peter C on January 08, 2013 9:34 AM:

    Somehow, 'gun appreciation day' doesn't sound like 'a well-regulated militia'.

    I think we need to insist that gun-rights advocates spell out what they think 'a well-regulated militia' means.

  • Lee Gibson on January 08, 2013 9:37 AM:

    Senator Heidi has certainly made a less than auspicious debut. Lieberman in a pantsuit.

  • Francis Bacon on January 08, 2013 9:47 AM:

    I don't have to click the link to know that Gun Appreciation Day will mean heading to your local gun (or sporting goods store) and spending lots of money.

  • Kathryn on January 08, 2013 9:50 AM:

    The mind boggles, Gun Appreciation Day, stay under your bed till it's over. Open carry is prohibited in the District of Columbia I believe, but nothing would surprise me.

  • martin on January 08, 2013 10:00 AM:

    Gun Appreciation day will be just like Mother's Day. Breakfast in bed with the kids and your shotguns, taking the pistols out to lunch, a little bling for your favorite automatic weapon and then a very special evening with your large magazine assault rifle (if you know what I mean).

  • c u n d gulag on January 08, 2013 10:03 AM:

    I hope Emergency Room workers in hospitals are ready for that weekend.

    On top of innocent victims, shot by gun-lovers, they'll find some gun-lovers blowing their private parts off, masturbating with the guns they love.

    I'm sure they'll be several contenders for "The 2013 Darwin Awards" from the festivities.

  • jpeckjr on January 08, 2013 10:07 AM:

    "roaming the streets firing their weapons into the air like a scene from a bad western."

    Don't you mean roaming the streets firing their weapons into the air like Al Qaeda terrorists do when infidels die in a massive explosion in an urban area in Europe, America, or Israel? Isn't that what you really mean, Ed? Like terrorists trying to frighten everyone?

  • POed Lib on January 08, 2013 11:57 AM:

    Well, if they have "Gun Appreciation Day", we can have "Pictures of Armed Morons Day". If they go out with their guns, go out with your camera. I will provide a Facebook page to post your pictures of morons, especially if they have names and addresses.

  • Gilgamesh on January 08, 2013 11:58 AM:

    There is some recent precedent for concern. Blackwater contractors and local law enforcement had lists of gun owners and confiscated weapons from Katrina victims.

    Alex Jones may be nutz, but he's not without some helpful nutrition.

    This is the 2nd Amendment corrallary to ACA. Inch by inch is a cinch.

    They start off with small bites, then the bites get larger.

    That is all

  • Crissa on January 08, 2013 2:38 PM:

    If that's true, Gilgamesh, please point to the court documents of people attempting to get their belongings back. Or something that isn't gun-nut pipe-dreams.

    The ability of gun-nuts to make crap up is apparently endless.

  • Rik on January 08, 2013 4:26 PM:

    Make it a 'Tea Party' moment and allow them to gather and celebrate. At the epoch of the party, someone set off a couple firecrackers...

    Problem solved.