Slatest PM: The NRA's Many Messages

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 16 2013 4:58 PM

Slatest PM: The NRA's Many Messages

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A membership card for the National Rifle Association (NRA) is seen on January 10, 2013 in Manassas, Va.

Photo by Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images.

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Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

Obama's Proposes Sweeping Gun-Control Action: Washington Post: "President Obama on Wednesday formally proposed the most expansive gun-control policies in generations and initiated 23 separate executive actions aimed at curbing what he called 'the epidemic of gun violence in this country.' ... Obama called on Congress to swiftly pass legislation to ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines for civilian use and to require universal background checks for all gun buyers. His proposals include mental health and school safety measures, as well as a tough new crackdown on gun trafficking." Complete White House fact sheet here. Full transcript here.

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What the Polls Tell Us: Associated Press: "Nearly six in 10 Americans want stricter gun laws in the aftermath of last month's deadly school shooting in Connecticut, with majorities favoring a nationwide ban on military-style, rapid-fire weapons and limits on gun violence depicted in video games, movies and TV shows, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. A lopsided 84 percent of adults would like to see the establishment of a federal standard for background checks for people buying guns at gun shows, the poll showed."

The Chances Congress Agrees: New York Times: "Lawmakers, advocates and administration officials agree that the president’s gun agenda faces steep political hurdles, including a well-funded opposition that has repeatedly threatened retribution against any politician that backs new gun laws. Proposals that have broader support, such as limiting access to guns by the mentally ill, are deeply complex issues requiring lawmakers to find carefully-crafted solutions that balance the interests of public safety against the rights of gun owners. And the gun safety campaign — a front-burner issue for the moment — will soon be forced to compete for time and attention with the other parts of the president’s agenda: assembling a new cabinet, negotiating a debt-and-spending deal with Republicans and passing comprehensive immigration legislation."

Happy Wednesday and welcome to The Slatest PM. Follow your afternoon host on Twitter at @JoshVoorhees and the whole team at @slatest.

John Boehner Takes a Wait-and-See Approach: "House committees of jurisdiction will review these recommendations," spokesman Michael Steel said in a statement this afternoon to reporters. "And if the Senate passes a bill, we will also take a look at that."

The NRA's Official Response: In a statement this afternoon: "Throughout its history, the National Rifle Association has led efforts to promote safety and responsible gun ownership. Keeping our children and society safe remains our top priority. The NRA will continue to focus on keeping our children safe and securing our schools, fixing our broken mental health system, and prosecuting violent criminals to the fullest extent of the law. We look forward to working with Congress on a bi-partisan basis to find real solutions to protecting America's most valuable asset — our children. Attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation. Only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy."

A Change of Tone: The NRA response strikes a somewhat softer note than the one the gun lobby hit last night in an ad that called the president an "elitist hypocrite" for pushing for stronger gun-control laws while his daughters are protected by armed Secret Service agents. "Are the president's kids more important than yours?" the ad asks. Watch it here.

White House Responds About How You'd Expect: Jay Carney: "Most Americans agree that a president's children should not be used as pawns in a political fight. But to go so far as to make the safety of the president's children the subject of an attack ad is repugnant and cowardly."

The Gun Lobby's Message to Lawmakers: Politico: "The NRA kept its dozen in-house lobbyists on lockdown in the first month after the Newtown massacre, but no more. The group is moving back onto Capitol Hill in force, not shying away from its take-no-prisoners message: no new gun laws. ... [L]awmakers can expect to hear a new argument alongside the NRA’s longtime case — about the right to bear arms and the sanctity of the Second Amendment. Its friends in the gun manufacturing lobby are relying on union workers to make a more practical argument — that guns are about jobs."

The Gun Lobby's Message to Its Members: This four-and-a-half minute video, titled "The Media Speaks For Elites, America Speaks For Itself":

Americans Among Hostages in Algeria: Reuters: "Islamist militants attacked a gas field in Algeria on Wednesday, claiming to have kidnapped up to 41 foreigners including seven Americans in a dawn raid in retaliation for France's intervention in Mali, according to regional media reports. The raiders were also reported to have killed three people, including a Briton and a French national. An al Qaeda affiliated group said the raid had been carried out because of Algeria's decision to allow France to use its air space for attacks against Islamists in Mali, where French forces have been in action against al Qaeda-linked militants since last week."

The Latest From Mali: New York Times: "French soldiers encircled a desert village in central Mali on Wednesday, a Malian Army colonel said, in the first direct operations involving Western troops since France began its military campaign here last week to help wrest this nation back from a militant advance. The Malian colonel said his army’s ground troops had joined the French forces and ringed the village of Diabaly, which Islamist fighters had seized the day before. Now, he said, they were engaged in trying to extricate the militants, who had taken over homes and ensconced themselves."

JPMorgan Gives CEO Massive Pay Cut: Associated Press: "JPMorgan Chase said Wednesday that it will dock the pay of CEO Jamie Dimon by more than half, to $11.5 million from $23 million. It's the latest fallout from an embarrassing trading loss at the bank last year, one that eventually ballooned to $6 billion. Its ripple effects have already been numerous, forcing Dimon to appear contritely before Congress and putting the bank squarely in the cross hairs of regulators and lawmakers."

Bill Says Hillary's Health Is Just Fine: Politico: "Bill Clinton joked Tuesday that Hillary calls him 'her first husband' — because he thinks she’s so healthy that she’ll live to be 120 years old and remarry. ... I tell her that, you know, she’s still got time to have three more husbands after me. So, I think she’ll live to be 120,” the former president said while speaking in Palm Springs."

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