Those shootings, whose victims have included a member of Congress in Arizona, moviegoers in Colorado and first graders in Connecticut, have horrified the country and inspired Washington to embark on the most extensive re-examination of the nation’s gun laws in a generation.
Mr. Carney said the proposals were aimed, broadly, at what he called “the scourge of gun violence in this country.”
So the White House must not only weigh the effectiveness of its proposals, but also their political feasibility.
More serious steps — like those taken by Australia, which reacted to a 1996 mass shooting by banning the sale, importation and possession of semiautomatic rifles and by removing 700,000 guns from circulation — are seen as politically untenable.
In the face of fierce, all-night bombardment by the French military, Mali’s Islamist insurgents have hunkered down to fight again.
But Mr. Panetta added that “any time you confront an enemy that is dispersed and that is not located necessarily in one area makes it challenging, and the ability to go after that enemy and be able to stop them from moving forward represents a difficult task.”
And with the Malian Army in disarray and no outside African force yet assembled, displacing the rebels from the country altogether appears to be an elusive, long-term challenge.
The implications of the nascent French deployment — and of the Islamist takeover of Diabaly, only about 220 miles from the capital here — seem clear: rooting out the few thousand insurgents could well be a slog.
A former captive of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in Mali, the Canadian diplomat Robert Fowler, described a very fit band of men, adept at quickly staging heavy weaponry on trucks.
At least 12 other states have enacted measures similar to the Maryland law.