Four weeks before the midterm elections, the event allows Bush to return to the politically safe issue of education and child safety. But the federal role in making schools safer is limited because education remains mainly a local matter. The White House chose to host a national sharing of ideas, hoping to seize a moment when people are focused on preventing violence.
Well actually, there is one way that federal government can make a huge difference in ensuring school safety, as the editors of the Washington Post point out:
We appreciate the president's resolve to gather experts, including those in law enforcement. Yet when it comes to gun legislation, the experts are ignored as the gun lobby scores victory after victory. Consider that President Bush signed a law that permits the destruction of gun check records within 24 hours (despite criticism from a Government Accountability Office report); let the federal assault weapons ban expire (despite evidence that it lowered the rate at which assault weapons were used in crime); is backing bills that prevent law enforcement from putting corrupt gun dealers out of business (over the objection of police groups); and restricted the ability of police to use crime gun trace data (again despite police objections).
Once again, when it comes to the safety of our children in schools, and despite the fact that these mass killings and acts of violence were all committed with guns, talking about guns is somehow off-limits.