“Congress too must act”

The President, three days ago:

I would like you to pause for a moment and consider the incredible courage of that event. Our president, who is vilified every single day by some of the most reprehensible and irresponsible voices our freedom of speech allows, made the choice to confront our nation’s gun violence problem. Made the choice to open up an issue Democrats chose to bury for over a decade for the sake of winning elections. Made the choice to honor the murdered children of Newtown properly.

The President:

These are a few of the 23 executive actions I am announcing today. But, as important as these steps are, they are in no way a substitute for action from members of Congress. To make a real and lasting difference, Congress too must act. And Congress must act soon. And I’m calling on Congress to pass some very specific proposals right away.

New Hampshire Rep. Carol Shea-Porter did not hesitate, meeting the President’s courage with her own a few hours later:

“I agree with the President’s comprehensive approach to addressing gun violence,” said Congresswoman Shea-Porter.  “I will not and cannot forget the never-ending scenes of families and communities in shock and mourning, and I will not ignore the calls of our citizens to do something to help stop the violence.  I support responsible gun ownership because Americans have a right to hunt or defend themselves, and they also have a right to expect to be safe as they go about their daily lives.”

As of this writing, we haven’t yet heard from the rest of our federal delegation – from Senator Jeanne Shaheen, from Senator Kelly Ayotte, from Rep. Annie Kuster, or even Governor Maggie Hassan on the President’s plan.

Again, the President:

In the month since 20 precious children and six brave adults were violently taken from us at Sandy Hook Elementary, more than 900 of our fellow Americans have reportedly died at the end of a gun — 900 in the past month.  And every day we wait, that number will keep growing.

I don’t get involved in symbolic, unwinnable fights. The common sense legislation proposed by the President enjoys widely popular support. The major gun profits group opposing these measures is dwarfed by the President’s list of supporters. We have a majority in the Senate, and the Republican House majority has in a very short time shown twice that it will bend to popular pressure.  We owe it to the safety of our nation’s children to try. And if action is ultimately blocked this time, another election is right around the corner, with our President in office another two years.

Again, the President:

I will put everything I’ve got into this, and so will Joe. But I tell you, the only way we can change is if the American people demand it.

Demand it.

(crossposted from birch paper.)

8 Responses to “Congress too must act”

  1. Lucy Edwards January 19, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

    Thank you, Dean. Will the rest of our delegation step forward?

  2. JonnyBBad January 19, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

    “I don’t get involved in symbolic, unwinnable fights. The common sense legislation proposed by the President enjoys widely popular support.”

    So, what do you suggest we do beyond blogging how we feel? Will you join a common sense coalition for safe communities? Will you propose to do something more? I am truly interested in a course of action you may see as productive, to force our elected officials to take action. Using Executive orders, thank you President Nixon, does not satisfy me, though I undertsand with the current Congress it may be the only course action that makes sense now. ]The President should wave the whole Constitution back at the 2.a people and remind them of all the Amendments, and his pledge to uphold it, and to protect the American people. You are right about hearing next to nothing from our recently electeds. Those involved in Gun violence or gun safety efforts over the years will tell you that most politicians wait till the horror dies down, and then vote to stay in power… our representatives think of their own survival first, and the implications for children second. I was crying on my walk this morning, realizing its so simple. We should do whatever it takes to insure we don’t condone continued slaughters. It’s clear we need to approach the sanitized version of the news of our drone wars, the lack of pictures of the murder victims in Sandy Hook, Aurora, the Sihk Temple etc. WE need to be confronted with thef effects of the weaponry. Instead we hide it, and do little, with half measures. If we only reinstate the ban Assault Rifles without making those in private hands illegal as well…we insure future slaughters.Out law assault weapons which no citizen needs for any purpose, license handguns rifles and shotguns like cars so one has to show basic proficiency and understanding of safe usage,, and make clips over 10 illegal. That is where I would think reasonable people could agree…no one taking anyone’s gun away, or as the GONH site puts it…’they are trying to burn your 2nd Amendment Rights down”. I am sick of suffering the tyranny of a minority with a big megaphone. I am ready to take action. Need direction.

    • Dean Barker January 19, 2013 at 4:55 pm #


      Contact your representative, your senators, your governor and ask them to support the President’s plan, as Rep. Shea-Porter has done.

      Withhold money and support until you are satisfied they are as willing to go to the mat for this as the President is.

      The President’s plan includes common sense legislation that a) will reduce gun violence and b) enjoys majority support. If our side supports it as fully as possible, if the public applies maximum pressure to their pols, some or all of his plan can pass.

      And if it gets blocked by the house, those can become immediate campaign issues to take back the house and get this plan into law this time next cycle.

  3. JonnyBBad January 19, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

    While the President steps in the right direction, banning the manufacture and sale of assault weapons is not enough in my opinion. If we don’t remove the millions already in private hands. it gives political cover, as opposed to doing nothing, but does in no way solve the issue. Gov. Cuomo started there, but in the end backed off to the ban alone, without any backward looking provisions. Thompson submachine guns were made illegal to own. Try and buy one. Its a felony.
    So again its just me, but believe, to immediately express support for half measures lets them off the hook. I will withhold judgement and funds, but also don’t trust ‘our side’ since they are only acting after 4 slaughters during the President’s first term.They could have acted before these violent things occurred.
    Democrats have not made gun safety issues campaign issues in 20 years. I clearly remember when the AMA called gun violence a public health crisis in 2004, and then Dr. Dean threw his hat in the NH Primary ring blithely that saying gun laws were fine, and needn’t be discussed.He knew politically it wouldn’t play in NH.
    Only because it is children slaughtered now, we are seeing some movement. Not after Gabby Giffords, Aurora, or Sikh Temple.When white children in the suburbs are killed they just can’t sit on it any longer.My gut expects it to be a slow backsliding situation in Congress, in which NRA wins the day, as usual.We will get background checks, and a ban maybe. There needs to organized and ongoing pressure to counter the NRA, who has a $200 million annual budget. This should be the beginning of concerted citizen action, not reliance in the very system of political payoffs and bribes that have led to the current situation. We need two simple things, one of hwich has not been proposed. licensing of all legal firearms, and a limit on clip size. We also need a societal mental health check.

  4. StraffordDem January 19, 2013 at 6:39 pm #

    Madison crafted the 2nd and 3rd Amendments to punk Patrick Henry, who was opposed to federalism. These were dealing strictly and specifically with military affairs.

  5. JonnyBBad January 22, 2013 at 9:14 am #

    At the State level, today at 1:30 in the L.O.B. the Criminal Justice Committee will take up lethal force legislation, known as Stand Your Ground, passed under O’Brien. Please come and sign in to support a return to common sense and safety.

    The basic premise of the previous long standing policy is that if you are threatened in any public space where you have a right to be, and are armed with a lethal weapon, if you can safely retreat without firing it is your responsibility to do so.

    O’Brien’s law which is in force as of today says one has no obligation to retreat even if there is the opportunity to so safely .

    • JonnyBBad January 22, 2013 at 12:06 pm #

      Hearing moved to Reps Hall

  6. JonnyBBad January 24, 2013 at 8:32 am #

    It appears unlikely now that Harry Reid will put the full court press on reinstating the Assault Weapons ban, and therefore it is probably D.O.A. in the Senate. Gun legislation for stronger protections for the other 99% who don’t own these weapons of fast mass killing always run into political reality. The opposition is better organized, and they turn their people out.Their numbers were approx. 10:1 compared to proponents of safer measures, as evidenced by Tuesday’s hearing in the NH General Court on Steve Shurtleff’s bill to revert from Stand Your Ground (Kill At Will) passed under Bill O’Brien. So even though the President and VP were ‘pitch perfect’ on message in their remarks about what needs to be done, it won’t happen the way they laid it out. Since it was suggested as pieces rather than an omnibus type of bill, parts can and will be dropped.TV talking heads and others I speak with conclude the best hope is for comprehensive background checks. It’s something, an important step but far from what this citizen would like to see. Any yock can walk into a gun show, not have to show i.d. and walk out with any manner of weaponry. Really we need comprehensive Federal legislation. Take D.C. for example where they have passed some of the toughest gun ownership regulations in the country. Folks just can just go over the bridge to VA, where you can buy one a month, and end up with an arsenal in their D.C. homes.We need comprehensive action. If you are interested in turning this around, and taking a long term stand for safer communities, please let me know by email.We are going to try.Thank you very much.

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