News, Ethics & Culture

Obama’s Speech on Gun Background Checks Divides

Obama’s Speech on Gun Background Checks Divides but Fails to Conquer

Published on The Good Men Project 01/07/2016

This past Tuesday, President Obama gave a widely anticipated speech on taking executive action to reduce gun violence. While declaring the validity of the 2nd Amendment and the right of gun owners to bear arms, he proposed closing the loopholes in the buying of guns without background checks and the improvement of our background checking system.

From Mr. Obama’s Speech:

“I believe in the Second Amendment. It’s there, written on the paper. It guarantees a right to bear arms. No matter how many times people try to twist my words around — I taught constitutional law, I know a little about this — I get it. But I also believe that we can find ways to reduce gun violence consistent with the Second Amendment.”

“…anybody in the business of selling firearms must get a license and conduct background checks, or be subject to criminal prosecutions.”

“We’re also expanding background checks to cover violent criminals who try to buy some of the most dangerous firearms by hiding behind trusts and corporations and various cutouts. We’re also taking steps to make the background check system more efficient…we’re going to hire more folks to process applications faster, and we’re going to bring an outdated background check system into the 21st century.”

I made a similar proposal in August of last year in my article: “The Dad Who Won Landmark Supreme Court Gun Case Proposes 6-Step Solution to End Gun Violence”. In addition, I provided other steps which would both reduce gun violence and protect the rights of lawful gun owners. My proposal contained a common sense approach which created a compromise between the political left and political right. I thought it was something I could get both sides of the aisle to agree on and actually enact.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

In my follow up article, A Dad Mourns the Loss of Reason in America’s Gun Culture, I pointed out that there was little compromise to be had. People were so entrenched in their positions and so distrustful of the other side that there could be no understanding or compromise. Pro-gun folks believe that anyone wanting to place any restrictions on guns actually want to ban guns completely. And the “more gun laws” crowd believe that pro-gun folks will not accept any restrictions at all.

Mr. Obama also addressed this issue in the beginning of his speech:

“I think we can disagree without impugning other people’s motives or without being disagreeable. We don’t need to be talking past one another. But we do have to feel a sense of urgency about it. In Dr. King’s words, we need to feel the “fierce urgency of now.” Because people are dying. And the constant excuses for inaction no longer do, no longer suffice…How did this become such a partisan issue?”

That statement made me hopeful that President Obama was going to bridge the gap between both sides, change the tone of the conversation and thereby solve this terrible problem.

Unfortunately, my hope was changed to despair.

Mr. Obama delivered a partisan speech in which he used the word Democrat 2 times and Republican 12 times- and those 12 references were either to make derisive statements about the GOP or use quotes from George Bush or Ronald Reagan, somewhat out of context, to strengthen his argument. He also went after the Republican Congress in order to justify his bypassing them and taking executive action:

“I want to be clear. Congress still needs to act. The folks in this room will not rest until Congress does. Because once Congress gets on board with common-sense gun safety measures we can reduce gun violence a whole lot more. But we also can’t wait. Until we have a Congress that’s in line with the majority of Americans, there are actions within my legal authority.”

Because Mr. Obama has once again taken a one (left) sided approach to this issue, he will accomplish nothing. History has proven this time and again. The political right will legally challenge his authority to take this kind of unilateral action. They will also point out that his orders go far beyond the scope of what he said he would do. The legal and political fight will go on until Mr. Obama leaves office next January.

Until we elect leaders that don’t divide us as right and left, Republican and Democrat, but see all of us as just Americans, the fighting over gun violence and gun rights will continue without solution. With no solution in sight, we can also expect many more innocent people will die.



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2 replies »

  1. Great read for people like me, who refuse to take sides and want to gather as much info as possible to make informed decisions of their own, yet can’t seem to keep up with the rest of the World. I always look forward to more from you

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