Steps Obama should take to make real changes. Our kids deserve it.
The slaughter of 20 innocent children and the six adults who tried to save them in Newtown, Conn., marked a turning point in our national consciousness. For more than a decade, both parties in Washington have mostly looked the other way when mass shootings occur. And they have mostly ignored the 34 victims who are murdered with guns every single day.
This is different. There is no looking away from the murdered children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. There is no ignoring the anguish felt by their parents and by the families of the six teachers and administrators who were killed. And there is no escaping the fact that we must do more to protect our communities from gun violence.
Sunday night, President Obama said he would use whatever powers his office holds to address this violence. He should begin immediately by sending a legislative package to Capitol Hill that the new Congress can consider and vote on as its first order of business when it convenes in January. The package should have three main elements:
First, it should prohibit the manufacture and sale of the military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips that have been used in too many mass shootings, including in Newtown. The previous ban on assault weapons expired in 2004. While President George W. Bush supported reinstating it, Congress never acted. The time has plainly come. Banning these weapons and ammunition does not mean there will never be another mass shooting. But these weapons were designed for mass killing, not hunting or self-defense. They do not belong in our communities.