Editorial Responses to Obama: Dallas Morning News

There are few watershed moments in history, and one is likely to occur today when President Barack Obama rolls out his plan to curb gun violence.

This newspaper is encouraged by the details that have emerged so far. Based on Vice President Joe Biden’s work after the deadly Newtown, Conn., school shootings last month, the president is expected to endorse ideas that this newspaper has long supported.

These include reinstating and tightening the assault weapons ban, limiting the purchase of high-capacity ammunition magazines, requiring universal background checks, conducting additional research on gun violence, investing in mental health programs, devising specific recommendations for school safety and cracking down on straw-purchasers who perpetuate gun trafficking.

Now it’s time for serious congressional leadership. The nation’s gun violence doesn’t have a single solution. Reducing the problem — from Sandy Hook and Columbine to the streets of Chicago and Dallas — requires a coordinated commitment to address a wide range of issues.

Many of the proposals have gained public support in the month since the Newtown massacre. For example, a recent Washington Post–ABC News Poll reports that 52 percent of Americans are more supportive of gun safety regulations since the shootings, including an assault weapons ban. According to that poll, 87 percent of gun owners support background checks at gun shows and 67 percent of them support the same for ammunition purchases. Even controversial measures, such as a federal guns database and controls on high-capacity clips, have substantial support from gun owners, 62 percent and 55 percent respectively.

Earlier this week, the president spoke in favor of a new assault weapons ban and universal background checks, regardless of whether the sale is made over the Internet, in a back alley or in someone’s living room. Some of these reforms will require congressional approval, but not all.

For example, we urge the president to demand more rigorous enforcement of existing gun laws, including prosecution of those who lie on gun sale background checks, stricter checks on gun dealer inventories and a requirement that the FBI contact state and local agencies when a gun buyer is rejected for mental health reasons. It would seem that basic steps such as these could win bipartisan support.

We respect Second Amendment concerns and firmly believe that keeping powerful firearms from those who might abuse them protects the rights of those who own and use the weapons safely. This newspaper does not support limiting hunting rifles and small firearms or rounding up weapons already in citizens’ possession.

It’s time to responsibly end needless gun violence.

What we support

This newspaper hopes the Obama gun plan includes:

•Renewal and tightening of the assault weapons ban.

•Limits on the purchase of high-capacity magazines.

•Requirement of universal background checks.

•Additional research on gun violence.

•Investment in mental health programs.

•Specific recommendations for school safety .

•Prosecution of straw-purchasers who perpetuate gun trafficking.

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