Obama’s gun strategy falling short in Senate – Reid J. Epstein – POLITICO.com

| February 25, 2013 | 0 Comments

President Barack Obama’s legislative strategy for gun control may be the reason he gets no deal at all.

Obama’s team has been working a delicate inside game to reach out to otherwise combative Senate Republicans: The White House conveys messages to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who develops strategy with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), the gun-friendly moderate who is tasked with whipping GOP support.

But as things often go in Washington, the last step is the hardest — and is beginning to seem impossible.The group has reached a breaking point over how to address records of private sales receipts, even after Schumer and Manchin, along with Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), reached an agreement on the broad framework for universal background checks for gun purchases – itself a fraction of the expansive package of new laws Obama called for after the Newtown massacre.

The four didn’t meet last week while the Senate was out but are expected to speak Monday night.

Coburn, the group’s ambassador to gun rights groups like the National Rifle Association, won’t accept a record-keeping requirement on the grounds that it could lead to government overreach. Schumer and Manchin, who are in regular contact with gun control groups, say any bill without a records provision would be as toothless as an honor system.

(WATCH: Dan Malloy: Feds must act on guns)

Manchin’s search for Republicans to replace Coburn — he’s had conversations with Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) has so far come up short.

The administration may have painted itself into a corner: This sticking point has the potential to sink the only gun control negotiations the White House has been actively trying to shape, on the part of the president’s legislative package that has the widest support. And though there are other potential vehicles for legislation, the White House would have to start from scratch, now more than two months after the Newtown shooting, in rallying support.

(Also on POLITICO: Senate Judiciary Committee to consider assault weapons ban)

While stressing that he remains optimistic, Schumer admitted that the situation has gotten tricky.

“Any negotiation on guns is bound to be very hard,” he said. “We’ve made significant progress, but there are still a handful of difficult issues. We are continuing to talk and remain hopeful.”

The state of affairs has gun control advocates worried that time is running out.

“Obviously we’re fighting the clock to some extent,” said Mark Glaze, the director of New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns. “Our polling shows that after a mass shooting public support attention wanes.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/02/obamas-senate-gun-outreach-falling-short-88055.html#ixzz2LycJEUDd


Obama’s gun strategy falling short in Senate – Reid J. Epstein – POLITICO.com.

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