Obama challenged the media to compare gun and terrorism deaths. So I did. http://t.co/0JZkoeLKTo pic.twitter.com/C9xj7QH5jV— Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp) October 1, 2015
And the facts are likely to be ... irrelevant. Dan Drezner has an excellent post discussing the limits of Obama's anger. Obama is not going to stop the rest of government for this one issue. And I understand that. I would like to see one of these speeches (alas, there will be more opportunities) to actually contain some real proposals of what sensible gun regulation would look like. Provide a clear alternative between doing nothing and taking all the guns away.
Of course, even that will not matter much. The social science on this is pretty clear. It goes to basic politics that despite the rhetoric of democracy, the small almost always have more power than the large. What is true about dairy in Canada is also true for sugar in the US and is also true for ethnic politics/diaspora influence (draft in pdf). It is far easier to get a small group of enthusiastic people who are directly affected to organize and mobilize than the large mass of society to focus on a single issue. And politicians care about who shows up, not those who stay at home or who are focused on other stuff. The President was right to point out that many gun owners do not support the stances of the National Rifle Association, but those that do are the ones that write letters, show up at protests, and all the rest.
So even the most left wing of politicians in the U.S. would take pro-gun, anti-regulation stances: Bernie Sanders. Running in Vermont, chock full of hunters and liberal ice cream purveyors, Sanders pandered to the NRA folks. This is not a left/right thing, but a who mobilizes thing. Some progress was made in the 1980s after the shooting of Reagan and those around him (James Brady most notably). Mostly regression since then.
But as folks note, if we can do nothing in the aftermath of the mass murder of small kids, then it is not likely that anything will happen when other folk are killed. Yes, I am profoundly frustrated and profoundly cynical about this issue. A very sad Spew after yet another sad day of avoidable tragedy.