In the wake of the massacre in Newtown, Conn., Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) believes local school districts should be allowed to arm teachers and administrators. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) is thinking along the same lines: “If someone had been armed [at Sandy Hook Elementary], there would have been a possibility to stop the person from coming into the school. I know there is a knee-jerk reaction against that, but I think we should have a discussion about it.”
For the record, when far-right politicians respond to a national tragedy by calling for an increase in the number weapons around children in elementary schools, I don’t think it’s their detractors who are guilty of “knee-jerk reactions.”
On the other end of the spectrum, meanwhile, congressional Democrats are eyeing a series of reforms in the new year. Greg Sargent reports:
“This is likely to be part of a package of proposals,” Senator Dick Durbin told me, in a reference to the assault weapons ban, adding that Dems would consider including other ideas like limiting high capacity magazine clips, beefing up background checks, expanding mental health services, and looking at violence in movies and video games. He said action was likely “early next year.”
Durbin has previously said he plans a hearing on gun violence next year. In the interview, he told me that a key goal would be to spotlight the Second Amendment. “I want to spell out exactly what the court has said in terms of the authority of Congress to limit Second Amendment rights,” Durbin said.
In an ambitious dream of bipartisanship, Durbin also told Greg he’s hopes to get 10 to 15 Republican votes for his measures in the Senate.
As for the White House, officials today confirmed that President Obama supports Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) revised assault-weapons ban, and the president reached out directly to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to explore ideas on gun policy.