Any assessment of the federal effort to make schools safer since the Sandy Hook massacre on Dec. 14 must admit failure.
That's the somber truth that President
The president responded by doubling down on his administration's pledge to push common-sense legislation to reduce gun violence. "We will not walk away from the promises we made that dark day," he swore to a lively
In the past four months, several states have passed tough anti-gun measures. Fittingly, none of the new laws is tougher than Connecticut's bipartisan reform, which extends the ban on assault-style weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines and improves background checks on gun buyers, among other measures.
But state restrictions are not as effective as federal law. As long as someone can buy a trunk full of weapons at a Virginia gun show and drive them to Hartford, there's a problem.
Meaningful new federal action is, to put the best face on it, looking iffy. Many members of Congress have gone wobbly in the face of fierce lobbying by the gun industry. Their cowardice is despicable.
There is a hopeful bipartisan effort to negotiate improvements in federal background checks, but agreement is far from a certainty.
Indeed, it looks as if the callous comment made by a
"We've got to expect more from Congress," the president said at the University of Hartford. "We've got to believe that, you know, every once in a while you set politics aside and we just do what's right."
Congress, however, is in the grip of a tyrannical minority that is running amok. The gun lobby has actually persuaded some states to remove restrictions on guns in the wake of Sandy Hook. And it opposes an international treaty that would keep conventional weapons out of the hands of terrorists.
The winter of hope for strong federal gun-safety measures has turned into a springtime of despair.
Stick In Eye Of Sandy Hook Families
Polls show that most Americans — even most NRA members — want to see universal background checks. Large majorities of Americans support making gun trafficking a federal crime. Majorities say they would support legislation that would keep out of civilian hands weapons that belong only on the battlefield.
People have been talking to pollsters but apparently not to their representatives in Washington. They need to focus on Congress.
We have a president who would sign such legislation. But there apparently isn't a critical mass in Congress to pass it.
So Mr. Obama came to the University of Hartford Monday to light the fire once more.
He's taking some of the Sandy Hook families with him on his return to Washington. They're going to lobby members of the Senate — with "love and logic," one parent said — to at least allow a vote on legislation to reduce gun violence. As the president said Monday, they deserve a vote.
With their passion and eloquence, the parents and other relatives of the Sandy Hook dead are the most persuasive advocates imaginable. But even they might fail.
A group of Republican senators is considering filibustering to prevent debate and a vote on anti-gun legislation. That would be a stick in the eye of the Sandy Hook families. As if they needed more heartache.