US President Barack Obama is proposing a new assault weapons ban and mandatory background checks for all gun buyers in a bid to channel national outrage over the Newtown school massacre into the biggest gun-control push in generations.
Personally I have no problem with either of those measures. You don’t need assault weapons for legitimate purposes such as hunting, target practice or even self-defence.
Obama’s plan calls on Congress to renew the prohibition on assault weapons sales that expired in 2004, a requirement for criminal background checks on all gun purchases, including closing a loophole for gun show sales, and a new federal gun trafficking law – long sought by big-city mayors to keep out-of-state guns off their streets.
He also announced 23 steps he intended to take immediately without congressional approval. These include improvements in the existing system for background checks, lifting the ban on federal research into gun violence, putting more counsellors and “resource officers” in schools, and improved access to mental health services.
Again, none of this looks bad to me. However I would note that I doubt any of these measures would have prevented any of the recent mass shootings.