President Obama’s mission to address gun violence in America began on Friday, December 31st, New Year’s Eve. Obama released his regular recorded Saturday address earlier than usual. In it was a clear message that he would forge ahead and do something – anything – to make it harder for potential killers to buy firearms. He had tried to tighten gun laws after the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school.
The massacre of 20 young children, six adults and the suicide of the shooter seemed to be a turning point. Congress blocked the president’s efforts, and since then, more mass shootings across the country brought no change to the nation’s gun laws.
This week, frustrated by inaction and just a few weeks after the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, Obama made his move.
He invoked executive power, bypassing Congress, to address loopholes in background checks for gun sales
That was followed by a press conference to officially unveil his executive actions in which the president, uncharacteristically emotional, shed tears. Two days later, he was live on television at a town hall on gun control hosted by CNN.
He capped the week by writing an opinion column, “Barack Obama: Guns Are Our Shared Responsibility,” published in the New York Times.
“The epidemic of gun violence in our country is a crisis,” wrote Obama, who went on to call on the public and leaders to unite against mass shootings.
Obama’s Teary, Yet Mild, Gun Reform
Doyle McManus – Los Angeles Times
Obama’s most powerful emotion on this issue isn’t empathy; as he said, it’s anger…. And he’s disappointed that his legacy may be nothing more than the mild executive actions he unveiled this week…
Most significant, Obama broadened the definition of a gun dealer to make it clear that anyone who sells firearms “as a regular course of trade or business” must conduct background checks on customers. Until now, people who sold guns over the Internet, or informally at gun shows, could claim that they were merely engaging in a hobby — which meant no checks were needed….
That’s not an infringement of their right to keep and bear arms; there’s no limit on how many guns they can own. Instead, it’s a regulation of their freedom to conduct business — the same regulation that gun stores already endure.
Thomas Sowell – Townhall
It was beautifully choreographed, like a great ballet, and performed with consummate skill and understated eloquence. First of all, the scene was set with a room full of people who had lost loved ones to gun violence. A father whose son had been gunned down made a long introduction before the president showed up, walked down the aisle and up on to the stage to growing applause….
As for the substance of what Obama said, there was very little substance, and much of it false, but one of the signs of great artistry was that the presentation overshadowed the substance.
Watch a clip of the president’s townhall hosted by CNN:
None of the things proposed by the president is likely to reduce gun violence. Like other restrictions on people’s ability to defend themselves, or to deter attacks by showing that they are armed, these new restrictions can cost more lives on net balance. The most we can hope for is that the effects of the new Obama-created rules will be nil, rather than harmful.
Obama’s Half-hearted Crusade
The Editorial Board – The Washington Times
The president who weeps at the thought of guns in the hands of evildoers nevertheless declines to do what he could do to take guns out of the hands of those who should not have them. He missed a great opportunity to order U.S. attorneys to begin aggressively enforcing existing law, some of which now goes all but unenforced. There’s a federal law, for example, against using a gun in the commission of a felony, carrying a five-year mandatory minimum sentence….
The advance notice of Mr. Obama’s executive orders suggested he would include more aggressive enforcement of current law, but, curiously, that language didn’t make the cut….
The president has been encouraged to make his end run around the Constitution, the courts and Congress by the passivity of Congress, which is addicted to big talk and blowing harmless smoke. Everyone knows that the Republicans, emboldened and empowered by taking over both houses of Congress, could do something because every two years, when election time arrives, they say so, telling us of all the things they will do if they’re only returned to Washington. It’s a dreary and continuing ritual.
Barack Obama’s Despair Over Guns
The Editors – The Economist
A poll taken for the Washington Post and ABC News in December, after the terrorist mass shootings in Paris and in San Bernardino, California, asked whether it was better to respond to terrorist attacks with stricter gun laws or by encouraging more people to carry guns legally. By 47% to 42% Americans chose gun-toting to gun control, though that headline number conceals a stark partisan divide, with 70% of Republicans wanting more guns in private hands to deter terror, and only 26% of Democrats….
The difference between opponents and supporters is that the latter believe Mr Obama when he says he has no plan, ability or time left in office to reduce America’s uniquely large private arsenal. And judging by the weary, almost despairing expression on Mr Obama’s face during his CNN town hall meeting, the supporters are right.