President Obama laid out his wish list for sweeping changes in gun control legislation Wednesday but the proposals will have no easy time getting through Congress.
Of the three major proposals made by the President, the call to reinstate the ban on assault weapons appears to have the toughest chance of passing.
This issue has long divided Republicans and Democrats and nothing appears to have changed on that front. Democrats such as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nv. and House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., have both professed their doubts about the move. Couple that with various conservative Democrats in the GOP-controlled House who are either facing re-election or have previously gone on record with their reservations about the issue and the odds are definitely not in favor of passage.
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The same can be said for the proposed ban on high capacity magazines that contain more than ten rounds of ammunition. The National Rifle Association, and many of its members in Congress, are skeptical that the ban will have the desired effect of curtailing mass shooting. Some believe the ban would eventually lead to making the use of a standard handgun illegal even in acts of self-defense.
The proposal that appears to have the best chance of passing is the call for requiring background checks in the sale of all guns, most specifically at gun shows and private sales. Polling shows the public is overwhelmingly behind this. Some House members, including Mike Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., are in favor of eliminating loopholes in background checks. In an interview, NRA President David Keene said tougher penalties for supplying false information in background checks could very well be an area of compromise.
Don’t expect the House to taking the lead on debating Obama’s proposals. The Senate is expected to begin debate on them next week.
In a statement issued by his spokesman, Michael Steel, House Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, said House committees will consider Obama’s proposals and “if the Senate passes a bill, we will also take a look at that.”
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