By: Madeline Rathle
President Barack Obama made an executive order Tuesday, Jan. 5, in an attempt to limit gun violence in the United States. His announcement and tightening of laws and restrictions has angered many Republicans, possibly for the wrong reasons.
The Republican candidates in Iowa have jumped on the opportunity to gain support by bashing Obama’s address, while the Democrats have shown much support for the president.
First of all, one must look at the Republican side of gun control.
It is centered on Second Amendment rights, which have become a touchy issue with the upcoming presidential election. Most Republicans fear Democrats want to take away their guns, infringing on the right to bear arms, which would affect hunters and people who are looking for self protection.
“Come and take it,” yelled a man from the back of a Ted Cruz rally on Jan. 4 in Winterset, Iowa. Cruz had just warned the crowd of the dangers of Democrats running the country in regards to gun control.
This is a common reaction among Republicans these days who believe Democrats want to take everyone’s guns, regardless of how they are used and who owns them.
The problem is Republicans have not taken the time to truly understand gun control or they are simply so anti-Democrat that they refuse to understand. Democrats do not want to take our guns; they simply wish to make it harder for people who should not have guns to get their hands on them.
The reality is that Obama is not in any way infringing on our Second Amendment rights. He is simply encouraging the United States to enforce laws that are already in place and being ignored.
This is after the tragedies at Sandy Hook, San Bernadino, South Carolina and other places across the nation. With 30,000 deaths from guns every year, according to Obama, our nation should be much more concerned with this.
Why are people complaining now about laws that were already there? It would be morally and ethically wrong and irresponsible as a leader for him to let these laws continue to be ignored.
“We’ve created a system in which dangerous people are allowed to play by a different set of rules than a responsible gun owner who buys his or her gun the right way,” said Obama in his address. “You pass a background check; you purchase a firearm.”
This is a reasonable request. Why should someone who can’t pass a background check be allowed to purchase a gun? That is asking for trouble.
The gun show loophole has been one of the most controversial aspects of this topic. Professional dealers at gun shows need a license to sell and are required to do background checks of customers on a computer, according to the Houston Chronicle. However, private sellers do not have to do this. They can sell a gun to whomever they want, no questions asked.
Many people claim this is not true. Regardless of whether it is true or not, more and more dangerous people are getting their hands on guns either by buying them from someone who has not run a background check or stealing them.
President Obama, in his address on Tuesday, listed four ways of bettering our society through better gun control: a better background checking system, better enforcement of laws already in place, more help for people with mental illnesses and better gun safety technology.
“We’re taking steps to make the background check system more efficient,” stated Obama. He wants to hire more people to process applications faster, and he plans to update and modernize the outdated system already in place. This can only help gun buyers and sellers by speeding up the currently slow process.
In order to enforce the gun safety laws that already exist, Obama wishes to hire 200 more ATF agents and investigators. When paired with better reports of lost or stolen guns, those agents should be able to help keep our nation much safer. Part of this solution includes better protection for victims of domestic abuse.
Two-thirds of gun deaths are due to suicide, according to the president. He wants to offer more help for people suffering from mental illness. Everyone has been personally affected by mental illness in some form or another. Why would we continue to allow our fellow Americans to get access to guns while barring them from quality treatment.
“We need to develop new technology to make guns safer,” said Obama on Tuesday. “If a child can’t open a bottle of aspirin, we should make sure they can’t pull a trigger on a gun.” He makes a valid point. We are so careful about other things in our lives; why don’t we take more measures to educate people on gun safety?
Many gun dealers have already been working to do complete background checks and make our nation safer. However, we need more people to get on board to actually make an impact.
Hunters and protectors of their families need a reality check if they think Obama is coming to take their guns. If they have that much fear of background checks, does it mean they cannot pass one? As long as they can pass a background check, their guns are safe and sound.
If the people of our nation would stop and listen and understand before jumping to conclusions and claiming an infringement on rights, and if some Republicans would put away selfish political agendas, we might have made progress on this issue a long time ago.