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Lawrence O'Donnell features my friend and colleague Bill Begg, MD testifying at the public hearing in Newtown this week:
“… what I’m asking for is (that) you consider a stronger assault weapons ban, elimination of the sale of semi-automatic weapons, restrictions on the size of magazine clips, number of rounds, extend background checks and also please let us do some gun research that’s real… Allow me as a medical doctor, when I see a patient or when my colleagues see a patient, when I educate them on the effects of alcohol or tobacco, safe sex, motor vehicle accidents, can I please talk to them about the risks of gun violence? Please?”
What CT does may be ultimately different than what the US does, but it'll take state efforts to deal with weapons that cross city lines and national efforts to deal with weapons that cross state lines.

Ken Dixon/CT Post:

The Legislature's mission is clear

If Connecticut doesn't end up with the toughest gun-control laws in the nation, the General Assembly will have failed its post-Sandy Hook School mission. Simple as that.

This was dawning on me last Wednesday night, about two-thirds of the way through the nearly 6-hour public hearing in Newtown High School.

Sitting on the stage, set to basting temperatures by the TV lights, were about 50 of the state's top lawmakers, exhibited behind desks for the 500 mostly local residents who showed up.

Gun-control advocates outnumbered gun enthusiasts by about 10-1, among the 80 people who spoke...

Yes, the tide has shifted against the National Rifle Association, particularly in this state.

RT @joshtpm: Awesome beyond belief. NRA released list of enemies including ABA, AMA, Mel Brooks, Chaka khan || Chaka Khan? Chaka Khan...
@KagroX via TweetDeck

More politics and pundits below the fold.

Hugh Bailey/CT Post:

Working on behalf of the powerless

The angry letters practically write themselves.

Illegal means illegal. Stop rewarding law-breakers. And on and on.

Few issues lend themselves to demagoguery as easily as immigration. So the idea of allowing people referred to as illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses from the state of Connecticut will be a nonstarter to many people.

Which doesn't make it a bad idea.

The justifications are simple. Police need to know who they're dealing with, either at a traffic stop or the scene of a crime. The roads will be safer because a license requires a driving test. And the possibility of insuring thousands of currently uninsured drivers should lead to reduced rates for everyone.

Jill Lawrence/National Journal:
Obama's Bad-Cop Act is Working

The president's second-term demeanor is annoying the GOP. But it's playing fine outside the Beltway.

Let’s stipulate that there’s deep mistrust and an even deeper ideological chasm between Republicans and Democrats, and neither will be fixed with bowling parties. That doesn’t mean we are doomed to paralysis. In today’s Washington, the path to progress is cold politics: locating the intersection of self-interest for both parties. Immigration reform, which Republicans need badly, is one of those intersections. Gun research and background checks may be another. Taxes and spending are the stickiest issues, especially with this week’s GDP news foreshadowing an economic slowdown if the federal government makes sharp spending cutbacks. But there is room for compromise if both sides are convinced it’s in their interest.

Still, Republicans should be forewarned: They'll be dealing with a president who is feeling less patient and more empowered than he was in his first term and one who, for now, has the public in his corner.

Roger Simon/Politico:
Police have testified that their greatest opportunity to rush shooters is when the shooter must stop firing to reload. If the shooter doesn’t have to reload for a long time, that opportunity is diminished.

None of which is convincing to Gayle Trotter.

“You are a large man, tall man, a tall man,” Trotter said to one senator who questioned the need for large ammo magazines. “You are not a young mother who has a young child with her. You cannot understand.

“You are not a woman stuck in her house, not able to defend her children, not able to leave her child, not able to go seek safety on the phone with 911.”

This might be understandable if Trotter lived in Syria and needed to defend her family on a daily basis. But she lives in the United States. There is certainly violent crime in the United States, but little of it comes from criminals who kick down the doors of homes and come after women and children with guns blazing.

Charles Blow/NY Times:
On the verge of the 100th anniversary of her birth this Monday comes a fascinating new book, “The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks,” by Jeanne Theoharis, a Brooklyn College professor. It argues that the romanticized, children’s-book story of a meek seamstress with aching feet who just happened into history in a moment of uncalculated resistance is pure mythology.

As Theoharis points out, “Rosa’s family sought to teach her a controlled anger, a survival strategy that balanced compliance with militancy.”

Jim Sleeper/NY Times:
“You’ve come a long way,” Mr. Koch wrote me in 1994, after reading a column of mine. I wish I could say he’d come a long way, too. But his courage, candor, principle and almost wild love for New York didn’t trump the fears and enthusiasms that marred his judgment. One of his last public political acts, his successful appeal to Jewish voters in Queens to elect a Republican congressional candidate to send the Obama administration a message about its policies toward Israel, strengthened a House majority perverted by people who would assail him as furiously as leftist activists did in 1979.

I can almost hear him saying, “Of course, I’d have wrestled them down, too!” His belligerence was his strength, but also his tragic flaw: he rallied a city in crisis, but he couldn’t redeem it — or himself.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 04:30 AM PST.

Also republished by Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA).

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