Sen. Daniel Inouye – Medal of Honor Winner, 2nd Longest-Serving Senator, In office Since Statehood – Dead at 88 – Last Word, ‘Aloha’ http://abcn.ws/R2tWsS
Inouye Flashback – 2007 – Read his description of WWII, in which he lost his arm, and for which he later won the Medal of Honor – http://abcn.ws/UEU7mx
Breaking Barriers – Tim Scott, the conservative Republican, to be first African American senator from the South in more than a century. Appointed by Nikki Haley. 5 black senators since reconstruction. Three from Illinois - http://abcn.ws/12kps4m
Bloomberg – ‘I Demand a Plan’ -“This is an outrage. We are killing each other and we’re the only industrialized country in the world doing it,” Bloomberg said at a press conference, surrounded by 34 people whose lives had been touched by gun violence. The number of people chosen to stand with the mayor was symbolic, since he said 34 people are killed every day, on average, by guns in the United States. “What happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School sadly was no aberration,” he said, adding that by the end of the next presidential term, 48,000 Americans will be killed by guns. (Newcomb) http://abcn.ws/12wm0Tp
Most Support New Gun Restrictions, But Don’t Entirely Blame Guns – From the ABC News / Washington Post Poll as translated by our pollster Gary Langer – more than half of Americans say the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., reflect broader problems in society rather than an isolated act of a troubled person – more than after other recent shooting incidents, suggesting the possibility of a new national dialogue on violent crime. This ABC News/Washington Post poll also finds that 54 percent of Americans favor stricter gun control laws in general, numerically a five-year high, albeit not significantly different than in recent years. Fifty-nine percent support a ban specifically on high-capacity ammunition clips, a step on which partisan and ideological gaps narrow substantially and “strong” support peaks. At the same time, sharp divisions among population groups – regionally, between men and women, and politically – mark the difficult nature of the gun debate. And this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds that more Americans say that enforcing existing laws is a better way to reduce gun violence than passing new laws, although by the narrowest gap in a decade. http://abcn.ws/UDxiQg
Pro-Gun Dems Eye Gun Laws – Several pro-gun senators have said that the Newtown massacre has changed their minds, to some extent, on gun control.
The most important – Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, who earlier in his career voted against the Assault Weapons Ban. Today he said he’s ready to look at new solutions.
“Every idea must be on the table,” Reid said. “We need to accept the reality that we are not doing enough to protect our citizens… I believe part of that healing process will require Congress to examine what can be done to prevent more tragedies like the ones in Newtown, Conn.; Aurora, Colo.; Oak Creek, Wis.; and Portland, Ore.”
Reid’s not along among pro-gun Democrats publicly changing their tone. Jon Karl reports that Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., has been as pro-gun, pro-NRA as anybody in Congress. During his 2010 re-election campaign, he famously demonstrated his opposition to the cap-and-trade bill by shooting the bill (literally) with a rifle. http://abcn.ws/RzKoCG
Now in the wake of the Newtown massacre, Manchin says it is time to re-think gun control. As he said today on Morning Joe, “I don’t know anyone that needs 30 rounds in a clip to go hunting …”
Also Mark Warner, who called the tragedy a “game changer” and Rep. John Yarmuth.
“I want to be part of that action, and I promise my constituents, the families of the bereaved in Connecticut, my own family, and every American family, that I will not be silent any longer,” said Yarmuth.
But you’ll notice there aren’t any Republicans on that list. There won’t likely be any legislation until you start hearing it, to some extent, from both sides of the aisle.
Here’s a roundup from Susanna Kim of what politicians are saying – http://abcn.ws/WjOhcz
Rubio Open to Some Changes – Here’s what Alex Conant said on behalf of Marco Rubio -
“In the aftermath of the unspeakable tragedy in Newtown, Sen. Rubio, like millions of Americans, is looking for public policy changes that would prevent such a horrible event from happening again,” spokesman Alex Conant said. “He remains a strong supporter of the Second Amendment right to safely and responsibly bear arms. But he has also always been open to measures that would keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. The challenge with gun laws is that by definition criminals do not follow the law. For example, Connecticut’s gun laws, some of the strictest in the nation, were not able to prevent this atrocity. Nevertheless, he supports a serious and comprehensive study of our laws to find new and better ways to prevent any more mass shootings.” http://bit.ly/TssgY8
Obama Leaves Message for Newtown Teachers -http://abcn.ws/TWCy1k
Obama Supports Assault Weapons Ban, But What’s He Done About It? Tapper’s Q -
TAPPER: And lastly, Jay, in the October presidential debate, the president said — one of the debates – “weapons that were designed for soldiers in war theaters don’t belong on our streets.” Can you name one thing the president has done in the last four years to help remove weapons of war from our streets?
CARNEY: You know, there’s no question, Jake, that the scourge of gun violence is a problem that has not sufficiently been addressed, because, as we saw in Newtown, we continue to have horrific tragedies that result in innocent victims. The president supports the assault weapons ban and the reinstatement of the assault weapons ban. But we have to -
TAPPER: I don’t mean “supports.” I mean, like, have you taken one measure, one act — one — to remove the weapons of war that he talks about?
CARNEY: Again, he supports legislation that is designed to ban some weapons, but as you know, this is a complex -
TAPPER: Anyone can support something.
CARNEY: — this is a complex issue, and — that requires complex solutions. And, you know, he looks forward to engaging the American people in an effort to do more. As he made clear last night, we need to change, we have not done enough — we as a nation. And, you know, he will in coming weeks use the power of his office to try to help make that change.
TAPPER: OK, so the answer is “no.”
No Obama Proposal… Yet - Carney – “It’s a complex problem that will require a complex solution. No single piece of legislation, no single action will fully address the problem,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said. “I don’t have a specific agenda to announce to you today. I would simply point you to what the president said last night about moving forward in coming weeks. And I would look for him to do that.”- http://abcn.ws/V3Oxh1
Flashback: Obama: ‘I Have Expanded the Rights of Gun Owners’ – Devin Dwyer reports on how the president has used the power of his office heretofore : Two months after the January 2011 Tucson shooting, President Obama put into writing the same pledge he made last night in Newtown, Conn. “We have a responsibility to do everything we can to put a stop to” tragedies from gun violence, he said in an op-ed in the Arizona Star. But in the next sentence, Obama adds this caveat, shedding light on his approach to guns: “Like the majority of Americans, I believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms,” he wrote. “And, in fact, my administration has not curtailed the rights of gun owners — it has expanded them.” In his first month in office, Obama overturned a 20-year ban on loaded guns in national parks and wildlife refuges. Licensed gun owners from any state can now carry concealed, loaded weapons on federal land. Ten months later, as part of an omnibus spending bill, Obama reversed a decade-long ban on transporting firearms by train. Amtrak travelers can now carry unloaded, locked weapons in their checked baggage. http://abcn.ws/T3a7Ao
Oh, And What About the Cliff? - Mary Bruce reports: President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, met at the White House this morning to “continue their discussions about the fiscal cliff and balanced deficit reduction,” according to White House and congressional officials. The 45-minute meeting, their first since last Thursday, comes amid renewed optimism that House Republicans and the Obama administration can reach a deal to avert the looming spending cuts and tax increases set to kick in on Jan. 1. Sources say Boehner has put forth a proposal agreeing for the first time to higher tax rates for wealthier Americans making over $1 million a year if the administration would agree to major entitlement cuts and reforms. When he returned to Capitol Hill shortly after noon, Boehner ignored questions as he made his through a small scrum of reporters.
Tim Scott Named First African American Senator from the South in More than a Century – http://abcn.ws/12kps4m
Gay Marine Proposes at the White House – http://abcn.ws/UvHJ9e