WASHINGTON — President Obama’s rage about gun massacres, building for years, spilled out Thursday night as he acknowledged his own powerlessness to prevent another tragedy and pleaded with voters to force change themselves.“So tonight, as those of us who are lucky enough to hug our kids a little closer are thinking about the families who aren’t so fortunate,” the president said in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room, named for a man severely wounded by a would-be assassin’s bullet, “I’d ask the American people to think about how they can get our government to change these laws, and to save these lives and let these people grow up.”Mr. Obama admitted that he was unable to do anything to prevent such tragedies by himself. And he did little to try to hide the anger and frustration that have deepened as he returns again and again to the White House lectern in the wake of a deadly mass shooting.
Mr. Obama took a veiled swipe at the National Rifle Association, which has successfully fought most limits on gun use and manufacture and has pushed through legislation in many states making gun ownership far easier. “And I would particularly ask America’s gun owners who are using those guns properly, safely, to hunt for sport, for protecting their families, to think about whether your views are being properly represented by the organization that suggests it is speaking for you,” he said.Andrew Arulanandam, a spokesman for the N.R.A., declined to respond to Mr. Obama, saying that it was the organization’s policy “not to comment until all the facts are known.” Wayne LaPierre, the organization’s executive vice president, declared after the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
It also follows that the first reaction to a mass shooting is an increase in gun sales ("they're comin' to take our guns!"), which then precipitates another mass shooting, which leads to more guns being sold, more death, more guns, etc. It's like Groundhog Day, only not funny.
Months of tense and at times frustrating negotiations over the effectiveness and fairness of locking up nonviolent offenders for mandatory prison terms gave way to simple handshakes on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday morning in a bold effort to recast two decades of criminal justice policy.The legislation proposes an extensive set of changes in federal sentencing requirements. Those changes include a reduction in mandatory minimum sentencing to five years from 10 for qualified cases and to 15 from 20 in others, and the so-called three-strike penalty is reduced to 25 years from life imprisonment.Many of the new rules could be applied retroactively, and an estimated 6,500 people now in prison would be able to petition for new sentences should the legislation become law.The legislation would also ban solitary confinement for juveniles in nearly all cases, and allow those sentenced as juveniles to seek a reduction in sentencing after 20 years.