Obama takes first step toward gun safety

How effective the President will be on gun safety remains to be seen, but today he took a first step in the right direction by laying out an agenda to minimize future gun violence. He sounded like a leader.  We eagerly await his action.

To many, the recommended measures are a no-brainer: universal background checks wherever guns are purchased, banning military style assault weapons and magazine clips of more than ten rounds, tougher penalties for gun trafficking and for those who lie on their applications to purchase. Others, like former Attorney General Ed Meese ,  claim Obama’s executive orders could be an  impeachable offense. And some members of congress say the proposals are Dead on Arrival. Let’s hope not.

According to the President, there have already been 900 deaths by guns in the last month since Sandy Hook Elementary School.   Polls suggest that 58 percent of Americans support an assault weapons ban, and even law-abiding gun owners favor more effective registration.  Attitudes seem to have changed a bit in the wake of Newtown. 

The President issued 23 executive orders on data base expansion, including tools to help mental health professionals to report potentially violent individuals, facilitate interstate sharing of information, overturn a ban on research by the Center for Disease Control to study the impact of video games and other media on violent behavior.  None of these is a substitute for Congressional action. And Congress won’t act unless the American people mobilize.  The question is: will the President use his bully pulpit effectively. Will he go beyond just animating his campaign network to organize and activate people in various congressional districts (from parents to clergy to gun owners) including many who didn’t vote for him,  to impel Congress to action?

He says he’ll “use whatever weight the office holds to make (these measures) a reality.” The National Rifle Association, whose job it is to help manufacturers sell guns and bullets, and has for decades used gun owners as its unpaid lobbying force,  is already couching this as a power grab. The President can’t let them define gun safety as an assault on liberty. The news media shouldn’t be suckered into framing the fight as between those for and against the Second Amendment. At least for today, I am encouraged. The President went big and not small. It has been more than 20 years since Congress banned assault weapons, in what was, at best, a loophole-ridden measure.  More comprehensive action is needed. The case has never been more clear.  If not now, when?

I welcome your comments in the section below.

3 thoughts on “Obama takes first step toward gun safety

  1. You raise some interesting points, especially about the need to enforce gun laws already on the books. I looked up the Tides Foundation, and all I can find are pieces with far-right rhetoric, damning the Foundation as radical, far left and committed to bringing socialism to the United States and destroying “our Christian-based culture.” None of that helps in creating a reasoned dialogue about guns or any other issue we face.


  2. I am disappointed that the president did not include the movie entertainment industry in the comprehensive safety plan to keep our children safe. After all, where do the mass murders learn to shoot at each other? Was the president letting the movie industry off or giving them special treatment Just as he did when he gave the movie industry a tax deal of 15 million or 15 billion dollars at the first of the year.

    in any case, according to Retired Colonel Dave Grossman and Gloria DeGaetano, who wrote the book “Stop Teaching our Kids to kill;” there have been over (5,000) five thousands studies showing a causal relationship that TV, video games and media cause violence. This book was written in 1999 and the studies have been conducted since the early 1950’s— http://www.killology.com/new_media_vio.htm The president did not allow for violence in movies.

    Banning military style assault weapons and magazine clips of more than ten rounds is like banning a Chevy corvette because it looks more dangerous than a Chevy Malibu. Furthermore, there has been a bill filed every year in Massachusetts to give a 10 year mandatory jail sentence to criminals who use a firearm in the commission of a crime; but it is always put into committee. Also, why hasn’t the Federal government punished those who lie on their application now, in addition, to punished criminals who use firearms in a commission of a crime? Additionally, the governments always run the illegal gun sentence concurrent. The presidnt is not looking for safety for our children.

    When Governor Duval Patrick was Assistant Attorney General for civil rights, he found a loop-whole not to criminally charge a federal officer who shot a 12 or 13 year old boy in the back. In any event, there are over 20,000 laws and the government will not enforce them against criminals. The government blames the 80-100 million firearms owners for a meniscus of criminals; or, like the governor finds a loop-whole in the law.

    Moreover, the president sounds like he is still the manager of the Tides Foundation when he would not give grants to law students who wanted to research the US Constitution to determine if the 2nd amendment was an individual right; but this time, he is acting on the lives of the small children who were killed by an evil murder.

    This whole political game is to take liberty from the people and make them more of a subject of the government


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