It's the crazies, stupid.
Obama said he wanted the conversation because of the recent series of mass shootings and called for it after the Newtown massacre. Not that anyone on the Obama Left is listening, but let's talk about the string of mass murders: Newtown, Aurora, Tucson, Virginia Tech. There is a common denominator. Each one was done by a young man who was insane. Each was insane in ways that were glaringly obvious. None was in custody and none had been legally debilitated from having a gun. (Technically, the Virginia Tech shooter should have been disqualified by the background check, but the record of his previous commitment to a mental institution was not forwarded to the proper authorities and thus was not entered into the database.)
Why aren't we talking about the scandalous state of our mental health system? It is a system devoted to the idea of mainstreaming all types of the mentally ill into society, and which does not like institutionalizing even the dangerously disturbed. When that gentle-hearted approach goes wrong, society pays the price. In this case, you are supposed to bear some of the consequences, since it is your rights that are being infringed. Are you crazy? Why, then, are you punished for the acts of madmen?
The real cause of these massacres? It's the crazies, stupid. They walk among us. They have gun rights--at least until they are reported for what they are. Until we look at that situation, we have done nothing that will prevent further tragedies of the same kind.
If this had been an honest 'broad national conversation' it would have placed the mental healthcare question front and center, rather than tucking it away somewhere underneath the stack of preconceived gun bans and registration schemes. We got the laundry list of anti-gun measures the left has talked about for years. We did not get meaningful discussion of the cause of the murders.
I don't like to talk too much about other people's motives. It's a hard thing to know what their motives are, because people are often unclear on their own motives. Perhaps at least some of the leftist anti-gun people are sincere not cynical, and simply lost track of the real question. But it's clear that this conversation is not about its ostensible subject, but everyone's Second Amendment rights. That is an odd thing in itself, quite apart from the question of motivation. This is not the conversation we should be having.
The whole thing is an example of a political double shuffle: If you want A, you must support B. If you want lower medical bills you need to support Obamacare. If you want a thriving economy, you need to support government stimulus and various relief programs. If you want dangerously insane people not to go on murder sprees, you need...