Slatest PM: The NRA Speaks, At Last

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 18 2012 4:39 PM

Slatest PM: The NRA Speaks, At Long Last

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A supporter of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney holds an NRA baseball cap during the singing of the National Anthem at a campaign rally at Alice Pleasant Park on May 29, 2012

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

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The NRA Speaks: The pro-gun lobby's released its first public statement this afternoon since Friday's shooting: "National Rifle Association of America is made up of four million moms and dads, sons and daughters – and we were shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders in Newtown. Out of respect for the families, and as a matter of common decency, we have given time for mourning, prayer and a full investigation of the facts before commenting. The NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again. The NRA is planning to hold a major news conference in the Washington, DC area on Friday, December 21."

So Does the White House: Washington Post: "President Obama is 'actively supportive' of planned legislation to reinstate the national ban on assault weapons, a spokesman said Tuesday—one of several signs that the gun industry is facing enormous new pressure, both financial and political, after Friday’s massacre in Newtown.... Jay Carney said that Obama was explicitly supportive of several measures demanded by gun-control groups. He listed a reinstatement of the assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004. ... Carney also said Obama supports closing a loophole that limits scrutiny of weapons sales at gun shows. This was a new level of detail about Obama’s goals for gun legislation. On Monday, officials said the president would set up a group of senior advisers, led by Vice President Biden, to study ideas for reducing gun violence."

And Corporate America: Slatest: Private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management announced today that it plans to sell off its investment in gunmaker Freedom Group, the manufacturer of the rifle that Adam Lanza is believed to have used in the Newtown shootings. "It is apparent that the Sandy Hook tragedy was a watershed event that has raised the national debate on gun control to an unprecedented level," the firm said. Cerberus bought Bushmaster in 2006 and later merged it with other gun companies to create the Freedom Group but had found itself under increasing public pressure in the wake of Friday's tragedy.

More: New York Times: "Separately, Dick’s Sporting Goods, a chain with more than 500 stores, said in a statement on its Web site that it was stopping all sales and displays of guns at its store closest to Newtown and was temporarily ceasing sales of modern rifles nationwide. Walmart.com removed its information page on the Bushmaster .223, a semiautomatic model s .... And Bass Pro Shop was not listing information about Bushmaster-brand guns on its Web site, though it had promoted the brand in a Black Friday special."

Will the GOP Join?: Associated Press: "Some Republicans now say they're willing to discuss the politically treacherous issue of gun control along with mental health issues and violent video games, while formerly pro-gun Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says it's time to place gun control on the table in the wake of the Connecticut mass killings. House Republicans discussed the gun issue at their regular closed-door meeting Tuesday and at least some were willing to consider gun control as part of a solution to the violence that ended the lives of 20 children and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary school."

It's Tuesday, welcome to The Slatest PM. Follow your afternoon host on Twitter at @JoshVoorhees and the whole team at @slatest.

Where Things Stand With The Cliff: Washington Post: "House Speaker John A. Boehner said Tuesday that he will introduce legislation — opposed by Democrats— to raise taxes only on households earning $1 million or more, as a backup plan for avoiding the 'fiscal cliff' if his attempts to forge a broader spending agreement with the White House fail. Negotiations between Boehner and President Obama have made significant progress in recent days, with Boehner agreeing to the idea of raising tax rates on the wealthiest Americans, and Obama saying he could accept tax increases for households earning $400,000 or more per year. That threshold is a concession from the president’s campaign pledge to raise rates on those earning at least $250,000, but it remains unacceptable to many Republicans."

Panetta Asks For DOD Cuts: The Hill: "Defense Secretary Leon Panetta made a last-minute plea to Congress on Tuesday to strip out billions in 'needless' spending on unnecessary weapons programs, just as lawmakers put the final touches on the Pentagon's budget bill for fiscal year 2013. In both the House and Senate versions of the legislation, defense lawmakers have inserted $74 billion toward a number of weapons programs 'those that have outlived their usefulness' to the department, Panetta said in a speech at the National Press Club in Washington."

Broadwell Won't Face Charges: Walll Street Journal: "Federal prosecutors in Florida have notified Paula Broadwell—the woman whose affair with Central Intelligence Agency director David Petraeus led to his resignation from that job—that she won't be prosecuted over allegations of cyberstalking. In a letter to Ms. Broadwell's lawyer dated Dec. 14 and viewed by The Wall Street Journal, Tampa U.S. Attorney Robert O'Neill wrote that "no federal charges will be brought in the Middle District of Florida related to alleged acts of cyber-stalking. Our office appreciates the cooperation provided by you and your client during the investigation of this matter."

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Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. Follow him on Twitter.