William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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NOT SO GREAT – AT 11:46 A.M. ET:  Reports say that the Obama administration will make a major push for its gun-control proposals.  Most of those proposals, by the way, were old hat, not terrible, but probably ineffective.  Let's face it:  They were political, and not much thought went into them.

What's striking, though, is that, while the president and his allies in the press have made some gains in public opinion, those gains are less than spectacular.  From The Hill:

A majority of people favor President Obama’s efforts to impose stricter gun laws, according to a Gallup survey released late Friday.

According to the poll, 53 percent said they would want their congressman to vote in favor of Obama’s proposals, against 41 who said they would want their representative to vote against the proposals.

That's it?  A full 53%?  And these were mild proposals, like expanded background checks and reducing the capacity of magazines. 

The issue, according to Gallup, remains highly partisan – 82 percent of Democrats favor the new laws, while 15 percent oppose, compared to only 22 percent of Republicans who are in favor, against 72 who oppose.

What is required is a much more thoughtful approach – real study of each component of the gun-violence issue, an admission that gun violence is not distributed equally through the population, and an end to demonizing the legitimate, law-abiding gun owner. 

What is also required is maturity and common sense – which means ignoring some of the entreaties from the fading representatives of the sixties generation, whose main aim in life is to feel good about themselves.

There is a gun-violence problem.  Americans know that.  But dealing with it cannot be done by flashy presidential announcements and failed policies that appeal to political liberals.  If all Mr. Obama can manage is 53%, after all the hype of the last weeks, he's in trouble.

January 19, 2013