Having not a thing with which to cudgel Obama with in the way of all the new gun laws the NRA claimed he would introduce but didn't once he got to the White House, Wayne LaPierre—who has steered the association for more than two decades—has recently imbued the NRA membership with the notion that an all-attack on the 2nd Amendment will happen in Obama's second term. So he must be defeated or the Republic is at risk.
At a meeting of the National Urban League in New Orleans Wednesday in the wake of the massacre in Aurora, Colorado, Obama dared suggest that civilian versions of military assault rifles “belong in the battlefield of war, not on the streets of our cities.” He also said efforts to strengthen gun-control laws after a shooting like this one have in the past been “defeated by politics and by lobbying and eventually by the pull of our collective attention elsewhere."
That is a needle that surely did not go unnoticed at NRA HQ and other redoubts of Obama-hate.
But Boehner, putting on his faux bipartisan hat, said:
“I’m not the expert on this, but if the president’s got ideas on this, I’d be happy to take a look at it.”
Wink, wink. Take this bait, Mr. President. Propose a new gun-control law. Or just hint that you might do so after the election. It doesn't matter how mild and sensible a law that might be—prohibiting, say, the manufacture and sale of 100-round rifle magazines. Boehner knows this would be red meat for GOP operatives eager to pry fence-straddlers out of the Democratic column on election day.
Indeed, what Obama already said, non-committal as it was, has probably already sparked plans at NRA HQ for an email and flyer campaign describing his views as unAmerican, foreign, communist and the like.
Despite the catalyst of the most recent slaughter, nothing can be gained either by the president or Americans seeking stricter gun legislation by heading down this path at this moment. That ought not to be the case. But the gun lobbyists with their wads of cash and well-honed take-no-prisoners electoral approach have generated a toxicity in the matter that allows for no reasonable discussion. Such a discussion has to happen. But, beyond what he has already said, there is zero upside for the president to engage in one before November.