President Obama once again demonstrated a quality that would be difficult to find in his predecessors — empathy for human suffering or tragedy. Yes, other presidents might have demonstrated a sense of understanding but I don’t believe they cried as President Obama did when he talked about gun violence at his press conference yesterday — correct me if I am wrong.
The tragedy of gun violence is painful and it gives the country a bad reputation. What is sad is that there are measures that can significantly reduce the senseless violence that destroys the lives of more than 30,000 Americans every single year as the president pointed out during his press conference.
It is no secret that some Americans have a propensity to deny serious problems or make excuses for them. Racism, climate change, and gun violence are examples of this. Gun violence though should not require denial and excuses. Unlike racism and climate change that are complex psychological and scientific issues respectively, gun violence is not a complex problem.
With gun violence, the facts are obvious — people who are not fit to own guns seem to acquire them easily. And it’s not just owning guns that are a concern, it is also the type of guns they own — assault weapons or high-caliber automatic guns that can fire several rounds rapidly to result in a mass shooting.
Much of the excuses or arguments against gun control measures centers around the “sacred belief” in the right to bear arms. People who hold this belief cites the Second Amendment as a God-given right for every American to bear arms. Another excuse is that instead of gun control measures, they counter that the government should focus more on the criminals who use guns to commit violent crime. The fact is that criminals are not the ones using assault weapons or high-powered guns to commit mass shootings. Mass shootings are invariably done by people who are emotionally disturbed or have some kind of mental health problem.
The effort to stem gun violence should not be a political issue it should be a non-partisan issue. Unfortunately, this is not the case as the GOP controlled Congress has shown no desire in wanting to implement real measures that would make a difference. Taking their marching orders from the powerful gun organization, the National Rifle Association (NRA), the GOP has compromised all measures that would help to protect the public from the irresponsible acquisition and use of guns.
It should come as no surprise that President Obama is taking the bold move on his own to fight gun violence. In my book about the president, Whom God has Blessed, Let No Man Curse (Infinity Press, 2013), I made 10 predictions about President Obama’s second term. The first prediction relates to gun control and reads:
He will successfully implement key gun control laws, including universal background checks.
President Obama has not been able to get the GOP Congress to work with him to implement effective gun control measures. This is why he has decided to take the initiative and implement measures using the instrument of his executive authority.
The influence of the NRA in preventing Congress to implement gun control measures are described in this excerpt from the book I previously mentioned:
Gun control or the shoot-out with the NRA
In the days following the Sandy Hook elementary school tragedy, the National Rifle Association (NRA) and its supporters began to defend their rights to bear arms, claiming that any attempt to implement laws to control guns would infringe on their Second Amendment rights. The ability of the powerful NRA lobby to withstand national campaigns backed by the great majority of Americans mocks the power of the people to force change on a major national issue.1 In the wake of the Sandy Hook school massacre, the appeal for reasonable gun control measures has been strongly resisted by the NRA.
The NRA, a powerful lobbyist that has spent a large sum of money to defeat politicians who were pro-gun control in the past, was beginning to flex their muscles. Although the issue of gun control is not one that President Obama showed an interest in doing his first term, the NRA nevertheless propagandized that the president would take away guns from people. Immediately following the Sandy Hook tragedy, President Obama named Vice President Joe Biden to head up a team that could provide recommendations for gun control. A month later, Biden and his team reported their recommendations to the president, which led to Barack Obama signing twenty-three executive actions to control guns.
Although the executive actions did not include any plan to ban assault rifles, they have set the stage for the next bill that is to implement legislation that would presumably ban these weapons and other measures to help prevent the Sandy Hook tragedy from occurring again. With the Republicans clearly against gun control and under the influence of the powerful NRA, the issue of gun control will be a showdown or a gunfight at the O.K. Corral. For any legislative action to pass, it will have to get the support of the Republicans in the House since they have the majority. Don’t expect either side to come to a compromise on this issue.
With Congress not willing to act on gun control measures, President Obama has once again demonstrate his leadership and courage in implementing executive actions that will help to reduce gun violence. As usual, the reactionary GOP politicians and presidential candidates are stomping their feet and making their usual outrageous rants. For eight years, we have seen this obstructionist behavior towards the president’s agenda. The consequence of this obstruction is that progress is slow and not easily achieved. So bravo to President Obama in taking action that will help to reduce the incidents of gun violence.
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