Gun control can mean a lot of things to different people.
Some interpret it as keeping more dangerous firearms off the streets, some interpret it as trying to keep them out of the hands of those with a criminal history or mental illness.
Very, very few people actually think that it means “the President is trying to take everybody’s guns away,” and yet that seems to be the glowing narrative from the NRA and those most passionately against gun control of any shape or form whatsoever.
We saw yet another example of this today when President Obama gave an impassioned speech about the tragedies we’ve endured during his time in office and offered up his own solutions after Congress has failed year after year to pass anything even remotely related to the subject. The ideas aren’t wild by any means…
- make sure that gun sales regardless of the medium are subjected to background checks
- make those checks less cumbersome and more effective by requiring federal agencies to make more data available and by encouraging states to do the same
- review our current standards for the safety of gun locks and gun safes
- promote safe and responsible gun ownership nationally
- provide training to first responders and teachers with regards to how to deal with active shooters
- investigate and share more information about the latest gun safety technologies available
- clarify the scope of mental health coverage through both Medicaid and under the Affordable Care Act, and launch a national dialogue on mental health
Every last one of the executive orders presented by President Obama focus on promoting safety and improving the background check process and helping to close loopholes in the system that inarguably have led many to believe that our existing gun laws aren’t enforced today, and yet the response from gun advocates and the NRA in particular is nothing but negative:
“…President Obama’s proposals would not have prevented any of the horrific events he mentioned.”
“The proposed executive actions are ripe for abuse by the Obama Administration, which has made no secret of its contempt for the Second Amendment.”
“The NRA will continue to fight to protect the fundamental, individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms as guaranteed under our Constitution. We will not allow law-abiding gun owners to be harassed or intimidated for engaging in lawful, constitutionally-protected activity – nor will we allow them to become scapegoats for President Obama’s failed policies.”
– Chris W. Cox, National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action
On social media, they accused President Obama of “not respecting the 2nd amendment” and complained that instead he should focus on “enforcing the laws we already have,” but if those same laws have already been cited as ineffective by the same groups, doesn’t it make sense that the administration take steps to improve those processes to thus make it easier and more effective to enforce those laws that are already on the books???
It troubles me that gun control has become such a polarized issue that we can’t even have a discussion about ways to help control gun violence because according to the National Rifle Association, the only way to stop a gun is with another gun and any other options are futile. This is strange because there’s plenty of historical reference to show that the NRA truly was once the biggest proponent of gun safety and one would think that keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people would be an agenda that pretty much anyone could get onboard with, yet faced with some of the most tame proposals to try to do something … anything about gun violence in our country, the automated reaction from the far-right always comes back as:
- It won’t work because bad guys don’t follow laws anyways…
- …but maybe if more people had guns…
- P.S. You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.
When 9 out of 10 Americans as well as specifically gun owners support the idea of universal background checks, making the process more streamlined and efficient seems like a no-brainer, and as for promoting gun safety and education – far too many accidents with guns make this one pretty self-explanatory, too.
Looking back at the entirety of President Obama’s proposed executive actions around gun control, none of them really feel encroaching and all that far out of left field. No threats to make certain types of firearms illegal, no push to disarm individuals who’ve in fact already used their arms against their government in the occupation of federal property out in rural Oregon – just education, process improvement, and mental health awareness.
If that’s not an acceptable step in the right direction, then really – with all due respect – what is???