A year has passed since Newtown with no action on guns

Saturday marks the first anniversary of an unthinkable act. One year ago on the morning of Dec. 14, 20 first-graders and six adults were gunned down by 20-year-old Adam Lanza with more than 150 rounds from an AR-15 style Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

The nation was so shocked, efforts to prevent such an atrocity from ever again happening were escalated. Legislators who were formerly opposed to any form of gun control, changed their minds.

A bill requiring universal background checks for gun purchases was proposed by U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa. It also had the support of Pennsylvania's other U.S. senator, Democrat Bob Casey.

All three men formerly had earned high "grades" from the National Rifle Association. All three found the Sandy Hook massacre to be a reality check. The bipartisan bill had strong support from Americans including nearly 90 percent of Pennsylvanians, but it failed to achieve the supermajority necessary for it to pass in the Senate last April.

A similar bill proposed in the U.S. House of Representatives by congressmen Pete King, R-N.Y., and Mike Thompson, D-Ca. has gone nowhere. Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a seven-year-old bipartisan organization determined to see common sense gun legislation instituted in the United States, has stepped up its campaign since the Sandy Hook massacre.

Other groups including Americans for Responsible Solutions started by former Arizona congresswoman and gun owner Gabrielle Giffords who, herself, was critically injured in a massacre that killed six people in 2011, have kept the pressure on for background checks, improved mental health laws and the restoration of the nation's assault weapon ban that federal legislators allowed to expire in 2004 after 10 years.

Nevertheless, no new federal laws have been passed to tighten gun control and the mass shootings continue a year after the public outrage over the Sandy Hook massacre.

Loved ones of those killed at Sandy Hook have vowed to continue their campaign for tighter gun control laws, but during the first anniversary of the massacre, they have one request -- that their privacy be observed. Instead of being caught in the glare of TV cameras, they wish to remember their lost loved ones quietly.

They suggest sympathetic Americans light a candle, give to a charity or perform an act of kindness to honor those who died at Sandy Hook Elementary School a year ago. Today should also be a day of self-reckoning for federal lawmakers who haven't had the guts to stand-up to the powerful gun lobbies, even in the wake of such heartbreaking carnage.

-- Evening Sun (Pennsylvania), Dec. 13


Enter another player in Obamacare: the IRS

Those who are running afoul of ObamaCare, or will run afoul of it, can only pray that the designated enforcers of the reform will prove as inept as the geeks the government brought in to set up the ObamaCare website. But, the designated enforcer heretofore has been better known for its ruthless efficiency than its bumbling.

We're talking about the outfit that nailed Al Capone. Yep, the dear, beloved IRS. How fitting that the Affordable Care Act -- legislation the Supreme Court approved on the technicality that it's a tax -- should come down to being dependent on America's tax collector!

The Washington Post reports that the IRS has been deputized to carry out some 50 different assignments regarding ObamaCare, including calculating and doling out trillions of tax dollars in subsidies for Americans who can't afford the full price of the government-mandated coverage. (The subsidies go straight to the insurance companies, not to the patients, solving the mystery of why the insurance industry -- a favorite rhetorical whipping boy of Presdent Obama -- was so quick to clamber aboard his program.)

Perhaps the IRS will be distracted from its ObamaCare enforcement tasks by the still-simmering controversy over allegations its legendary zeal in pursuit of government revenue took a partisan detour to jerk around various Tea Party groups.

"Some of the (IRS) tasks are so vital to the success of President Obama's health-care initiative that any uncertainty about whether the IRS can do its job raises doubts about the overall endeavor," reported the Post.

--The Trentonian (N.J.), Dec. 13