The NRA, one of the most powerful lobbying forces, through its unwavering opposition to most anti-gun proposals, has also successfully shaped the debate into a binary argument – pro-gun or anti-gun, Webster says, adding that is also a convenient narrative for the media to follow. And that's made achieving gun reforms harder, even where there is agreement, he says.
"We don't want dangerous people to have guns - gun owners don't want that, non-gun owners don't want that," Webster says. "And we have a set of policies in place now that really benefit two, maybe three kinds of people. It benefits criminals, it benefits traffickers, and it benefits gun sellers. Everyone else it doesn't benefit because we have these huge gaps in the laws that make it just insanely easy, at least in some places."
New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, a long-time gun control proponent, said the president's comments were insufficient and vowed to press for action.
"President Obama rightly sent his heartfelt condolences to the families in Newtown, but the country needs him to send a bill to Congress to fix this problem," he said in a statement. "Calling for 'meaningful action' is not enough. We need immediate action. We have heard all the rhetoric before. What we have not seen is leadership – not from the White House and not from Congress. That must end today. This is a national tragedy and it demands a national response."
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Rebekah Metzler is a political writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow her on Twitter or reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.