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New gun laws are necessary for safety

Reed Schneider, Opinion Editor
January 30, 2013
Filed under Opinion, Top Stories

President Obama stood in front of an entire country stricken with a mix of emotions and spoke about the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Conn., Dec. 16. Halfway through his speech, he lost his voice after explaining the majority of the victims were between 5 and 10 years old. In uncomfortable silence, he wiped a tear from his eye. He began again, letting the national audience know the country has been through this same situation too many times.

“We’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics,” Obama said.

As of Jan. 16, Obama signed a list of 23 executive actions on gun control and separately asked Congress to pass gun-control laws, according to CNN. While it’s a great start for the administration, the actions have unfortunately been met with large amounts of scrutiny.

According to CNN, the NRA launched a new 30-second television ad accusing Obama of hypocrisy. The ad is also posted on its dedicated website “Stand and Fight.” Among the nonsense the ad spews out, it poses the question of whether the president’s kids are more important than anyone else’s.

“Mr. Obama demands the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes,” the narrator says. “But he is just another elitist hypocrite when it comes to a fair share of security. Protection for their kids and gun-free zones for ours.”

It’s not a question of whether Obama’s children are more important. If they do have more security, it’s because Obama is one of the chief symbols of our nation as a whole, making his kids fairly prime targets for heinous criminals.

However, the NRA isn’t the only source of criticism the Obama administration has come across. According to CNN, an Oregon sheriff has declared he will not enforce any federal regulation Obama signed in his package of gun control proposals. Linn County Sheriff Tim Mueller wrote a letter to Vice President Joe Biden saying it offended the constitutional rights of his citizens and he wouldn’t permit any federal officers to enforce them in his stead. While only one person, the story might have been pushed to the side, but his story was shared on the department’s Facebook page and earned more than 59,000 likes and shares.

Among the letters of support, a Texas lawmaker said he will introduce legislation that would make it illegal to enforce a federal gun ban. Jackson County Sheriff Denny Peyman also declared he would disobey any directive from the administration. However, unlike Mueller, he later recanted his statement on CNN.

“If it goes through Congress, if it becomes law, if it goes that way, yeah, I’d enforce the law,” Peyman said.

Yet, the NRA, among other gun rights groups, has vowed to fight tooth and nail against any new gun restrictions like an assault weapons ban, according to CNN.

“Attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation,” an NRA spokesman said in a statement. “Only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy.”

Along with the 23 executive actions, Obama asked Congress to pass laws that would require background checks on all gun sales, restore a ban on military-style assault weapons, ban gun magazines with capacities of more than 10 rounds and toughen penalties on people who sell guns to those who can’t have them.

These are all very acceptable measures to tighten down on gun control. The background checks should have been happening from the start. Who decided it wouldn’t be worth gun sellers’ time to double-check the guns they sold weren’t going in the hands of criminals or those suffering from a mental health problem? Also, there is no need for citizens to own military-style assault weapons. Simply agreeable terms shouldn’t be criticized the way they have been, which is cause for frustration felt by Obama.

“Part of the challenge we confront is that even the slightest hint of some sensible, responsible legislation in this area fans this notion that somehow, ‘Here it comes, everybody’s guns are going to be taken away,’” Obama said.

The Second Amendment right to bear arms is important, but there is a limit. Back when it was created, the right to bear arms meant the people had a way of defense against others and their own government. Does that mean every citizen should have the right to bear tanks, assault drones and nuclear missiles as well? There shouldn’t be a controversy over the banning of an unnecessary type of weapon or any other of the reasonable measures of gun control Obama has signed into action.