This week President Obama has announced concrete steps seeking to decrease gun violence in the U.S. Incomprehensibly, even before he announced what those steps were, his political opponents were denouncing his proposed actions.
Why, why is there so much opposition to efforts to reduce gun violence in this country? I just don’t understand it.
Yes, I understand that many people own guns and like the feeling of security they get from gun ownership.
Yes, I understand that many people think that the Second Amendment guarantees gun ownership by every American citizen (maybe with a few exceptions).
Yes, I understand that some people fear federal control and want to be free of government regulations.
But why, why is there so much opposition to the President’s efforts to reduce gun violence?
On Monday, prior to the President’s announcement of his plans, Representative Sam Graves in his weekly email to us, his Missouri 6th District constituents, promised that he will “aggressively oppose the President as he seeks to limit the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding American people.”
But really, Sam, is that what the President is seeking to do?
Some right-wing rhetoric was even stronger. For example, on January 4 Fox News commentator Todd Starnes declared, “President Obama is plotting with his attorney general to get our guns.” And a little later he blatantly said, “This president ultimately wants to disarm the nation.”
Then Starnes charged that the President was “declaring war on law-abiding citizens.”
But Graves and Starnes, as well as the Republican presidential candidates who also ripped into the President’s proposed plans before even listening to them, are incorrect and (willfully?) misleading in their charges.
Unfortunately, many people heard only the criticism by the President’s political enemies rather than listening to what the President actually said.
In his Tuesday speech, as well as in his town hall meeting yesterday evening, the President emphasized shoring up holes in the federal background check system for gun purchases, kick-starting so-called smart gun technology, and devoting millions of additional dollars to mental health services.
That certainly doesn’t sound like infringing upon the Second Amendment. And Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the chief law enforcement officer of the U.S., has publicly stated that the President’s proposals are “consistent with the Second Amendment.”
In his Jan. 5 talk, the President stated his position very clearly: “Contrary to the claims of what some gun rights proponents have suggested, this hasn’t been the first step in some slippery slope to mass confiscation. . . . this is not a plot to take away everybody’s guns. You pass a background check; you purchase a firearm.”
Oliver Munday, New York Times
The editorial board of the New York Times explained in a Jan. 4 article that most of the executive actions of the President “are aimed at making it harder for criminals and other dangerous people to get their hands on a firearm.”
They also emphasized that his actions are what even gun-rights activists want: “keeping guns from people likely to use them in crimes, and enforcing gun laws already on the books.”
That sounds like a reasonable plan and something Congress should have done long ago, but didn’t—and still doesn’t seem to want to.
So my perplexity remains, Why is there so much opposition to the President’s efforts to reduce gun violence? It just doesn’t make any sense.