The report’s release comes amid fierce debate on Capitol Hill over proposed federal gun legislation almost four months after the Newtown, Conn., elementary school massacre that jump-started national debate on firearms. President Obama heads to Colorado on Wednesday to call attention to new gun control measures enacted by that state, scene of two of the biggest mass shootings in US history.
Next Monday, the president goes to Connecticut for another event focused on guns.
The prospects for federal legislation remain uncertain, as gun-friendly legislators appear to have beaten back efforts to renew a ban on military-style assault weapons, such as the one used by the Newtown shooter. A proposed ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines is also on the ropes. Now, analysts say, gun control advocates’ best hope may be for expanded background checks for gun buyers. The legislation also includes money devoted to school safety.
Hutchinson largely avoided discussing the federal legislative battle, instead focusing on measures that schools can take now to assess security and make improvements. He also presented a more congenial pro-gun face to the public, compared with NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre’s memorable appearance before reporters soon after Newtown.
Then, Mr. LaPierre struck an aggressive posture toward the media, taking no questions, and offering no hint of compromise on any aspect of gun ownership.
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” he said.
Hutchinson, in contrast, was less absolute. On Tuesday, for example, he made clear that the task force was not recommending that all teachers be armed.