President Obama's visit to Colorado today to press his case for modest gun control comes as the fight over firearm policy becomes more complicated -- and in some cases, more oxymoronic -- than ever. In advance of his visit, the National Rifle Association released a rehash of its earlier ridiculed proposal to supposedly solve the scourge of gun violence by arming teachers. However, as expected, the proposal did not endorse universal background checks for gun purchases.
In a CNN interview discussing the plan, NRA official Asa Hutchinson claimed he is "open to expanding background checks," but the Huffington Post notes "he stopped far short of endorsing the type of universal background checks for all gun sales that have been proposed" in major legislation before the U.S. Senate.
All of this points to five key questions at the heart of today's increasingly bizarre gun debate -- and their not-so-satisfying answers:
1. Why does the NRA oppose the universal background check policy it once championed?
Among Colorado's package of landmark gun regulations that President Obama will likely tout is a law mandating universal background checks. With a substantial portion of gun sales not subjected to background check laws, it's a modest idea -- so modest, in fact, that the National Rifle Association vociferously championed the concept after Colorado's first gun massacre in Columbine (the NRA also supported the creation of gun-free school zones).