Gun Laws & Legislation

Cultural issues, mental health, video-game violence all on table for White House gun control push

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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President Barack Obama’s new project to combat “gun violence” could reach beyond gun control itself and include cultural issues and even video games, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Dec. 18.

The president “recognizes … that we need to look broadly at all of the potential contributors to the scourge of gun violence in this country … [including] mental health and perhaps cultural issues,” Carney said.

Carney also declined to rule out regulations or restrictions on video games, following a reporter’s question about the tweeted condemnation of a violent video game by David Axelrod, Obama’s chief political strategist. (RELATED: Washington Post blogger says video games don’t kill people, people kill people)

“In NFL post-game: an ad for shoot ’em up video game. All for curbing weapons of war. But shouldn’t we also quit marketing murder as a game?” he tweeted Dec. 17.

On Tuesday, Carney said the president is interested in proposals to ban so-called “assault weapons,” to restrict the sale of high-capacity magazines and to curb sales at gun shows, as part of its new project against gun violence.

Carney also applauded several politicians who ran as gun-rights advocates and are now indicating support for new gun restrictions following the Dec. 14 murder of 20 unprotected children and six unarmed adults in a Connecticut elementary school.

The president is “heartened” by support from Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and other supporters of “common sense gun-control measures,” Carney told reporters.

He also continued Obama’s dismissal of gun-rights supporters and his critics. “Stale talking points” could lead to an impasse on further gun curbs, he said.

The issue amounts to a national emergency that requires a major response, he suggested “If whatever action we take saves even one child’s life, we should take it,” he added.

He also suggested that the crisis also justifies a reconsideration of other laws and rules not directly related to guns, that could alarm libertarians and conservatives, especially family advocates.

Family advocates fear progressives’ efforts to reduce the role of the two-parent family, and to instead boost the role of government — and its army of paid professionals — in child rearing.

If Obama pushes ahead with this project, he’s likely to get enthusiastic support from major media outlets.

Since Obama’s speech at the Saturday memorial, Washington, D.C.-based media outlets — including reporters at White House briefings — have begun championing new curbs on guns. This focus has crowded out coverage of other major news, such as the so-called “Fiscal Cliff” talks, the Islamist takeover in Egypt, and the United States’ stalled economy.

To advance the potentially ambitious project, Obama met Monday with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Sebelius is already rolling out a wave of health-care regulations under the Obamacare takeover of the nation’s health sector. That gives her enormous influence over measures intended to shape character and behavior under rules for “mental health” spending.

Holder’s role in the debate will be limited by his role in the “Operation Fast and Furious” program, which allowed hundreds of military-style weapons to be smuggled from the United States to drug gangs in Mexico.

Hundreds of Mexicans were killed with guns from the administration’s program, according to Mexican media reports. At least one U.S. Border Patrol officer also perished.

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