No hint yet exactly what it is, but President Obama plans to pitch gun control to the nation.
Selective leaks have begun to appear in sympathetic, carefully chosen media.
MSNBC's Chris Matthews
was among the first to take it public:
“There is going to be a special presidential address on gun control. It has not been scheduled yet, but there is going to be one in the near future. Yes, you can take it from me."
This afternoon, Newsweek chimed in
, saying the White House will unveil its proposal in the next two weeks:
"The White House said that to avoid being accused of capitalizing on the Arizona shootings for political gain, Obama will address the gun issue in a separate speech, likely early next month. He's also expected to use Arizona has a starting point, but make the case that America's gun laws have been too loose for much longer than just a few weeks."
What will be proposed hasn't been leaked yet. Odds are it will include a proposal to ban high-capacity ammunition magazines. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) has already presented a bill
in the House to do so. McCarthy's bill is now known as H.R. 308
, the Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act.
Assessments of Mr. Obama's gun control record and comments prior to the 2008 election my also provide insight of what he may propose. Now's a good time to go back and review pre-election analysis
of Mr. Obama's record and comments on the subject.
With the House of Representatives now under the control of a Republican majority, there's little chance of a health care style
cram-through of a gun control package.
But Mr. Obama may not even have expectations of winning passage of new gun control measures in the current Congress. It might be he's simply setting up the issue as a cornerstone of his 2012 re-election run. Gun control is traditionally a Democrat issue, and gun control was part of the party's 2008 platform:
"We believe the right to own firearms is subject to reasonable regulation, but we know that what works in Chicago may not work in Cheyenne. We can work together to enact and enforce commonsense laws and improvements - like closing the gun show loophole, improving the background check system, and reinstating the assault weapons ban..."
Then again, Mr. Obama and his team may not wait on either Congress or the next election. They may attempt to go the regulatory route, allowing agencies like the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to impose piecemeal restrictions beyond what's been done on the regulatory level in the past.
Or the Obama gun control plan may combine these different strategies.
For now, the administration is releasing trial balloons, easing into the issue. But clearly, something is in the works. We should have a better grasp of what's afoot in the next couple weeks.