President Obama has taken his first steps to reducing gun violence, charging his Cabinet in a meeting yesterday with formulating proposals toward that end, and tapping longtime gun-control advocate Joe Biden to lead the effort, sources tell the Washington Post, adding that an assault rifle ban is definitely on the table. But officials say Obama's response to the Newtown shootings will be a "broader approach" that goes beyond simple gun control, including proposals to address mental illness and violence in pop culture as well.
The president's allies in Congress are already mobilizing. "We need to accept the reality that we’re not doing enough to protect our citizens," Harry Reid said following a moment of silence on the Senate floor yesterday. Reid made a point of bringing his gun with him when he first came to Washington, Politico points out, and he has often been an NRA ally. "His thinking is evolving," a Reid confidant says. "He is probably not going to take the lead," but won't obstruct action either. Pro-gun Democrats Mark Warner and Joe Manchin are also joining the call for action. “I don’t know anyone in the sporting or hunting arena that goes out with an assault rifle,” says Manchin. “I don’t know anyone that needs 30 rounds in a clip to go hunting.” (Read more Harry Reid stories.)