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Thu Dec 20, 2012, 04:25 AM

Two Big Reasons Why New Gun Controls Aren't Going to Happen [View all]

A) The 2014 Mid-Term Elections

Among the states Democrats will be defending are Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia, New Hampshire, Colorado, Iowa, New Mexico and South Dakota. All of these states have very strong blocks of pro-gun voters. In Michigan, the issue could come into play if Sen. Carl Levin decides to retire.

Regardless of how the fiscal cliff negotiations end, the economy will remain weak through 2014. There is even a chance the economy slips back into recession. It is unlikely Harry Reid wants to add to the Democrats' challenge by making gun control an issue in the midterm. Midterm's have lower turnout than presidential elections, allowing an energized base of voters, like gun rights supporters, to have an out-sized impact on the results.

B) Biden Gun Violence Task Force

In Washington, blue-ribbon task forces are reserved for issues where you want the appearance of taking action, without having to actually do anything. There's a reason we've had so many task forces on government spending and the debt. Politicians want to look like they are doing something on an issue. By the time the task force completes its work, the national conversation will have moved on to a new issue.

Task forces are also effective ways to slow down a push for legislation. Legislators can defer taking action while the task force completes its "review" of the issue. Its a very convenient way to kick an issue down the road until after the immediate emotions have cooled.

Obama's press conference yesterday marked the zenith of the new push for gun control. Its momentum will fade as the raw emotions around the shooting recede. With it, the appetite for new gun control laws will fall away. Obama's task force is recognition of that.

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Did I leave anything out?

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