I am pleased that President Obama is taking steps to scale back the availability of automatic weapons in the US and to limit the access to guns to those who are mentally disabled. Even if the measure fails through Republican-cum-interest group pressures it needs to be initiated so that the next inevitable mass slaughter triggers a more sensible response. Scaling back the gun culture will take time and the paranoid character of modern America suggests it might take a lot of time. The fact that interest groups such as the NRA might successfully overthrow this reform will highlight their destructive role in US politics and hopefully undermine them longer-term.
I am puzzled by the stridency of the right-wing response. Why the need for automatic weapons and for high capacity magazines at all if they are to be used as a legitimate means of defence? Furthermore, if the NRA and other groups blame the people behind the guns for the killings that have occurred then why the opposition to more stringent screenings of those seeking to get guns?
Obama’s policy response is, in fact, mild. That it has already been so vigorously opposed is an indication of the craziness of modern America and of the excessive power of interest groups to foster such craziness. (1155)