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Obama’s Executive Order on gun control is a step in the right direction – OPINION

Isaiah Cordova

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By Isaiah Cordova

President Obama recently signed an executive order bringing major changes to gun legislation into law. Obama’s speech announcing the executive action Jan. 5 brought tears to his face as he spoke of the deaths of twenty first-graders at a school in Newtown, Connecticut, at the hands of a mentally-ill shooter. The executive order contains four different parts, covering improved background checks, enforcement of current gun laws, increasing mental health treatment and reporting to the background check system, and the future of gun safety technology.

In the midst of repeated criticism of even the most common sense gun control, there lies a truth about the necessity of gun control in America and how the gun lobby and the National Rifle Association purposefully and repeatedly bypasses America’s democracy. The NRA, while bypassing democracy, has spread misinformation about the true meaning of the Second Amendment. Politicians are overreacting to a long-due piece of legislation.

The White House’s official press release states, “Over the past decade in America, more than 100,000 people have been killed as a result of gun violence—and millions more have been the victim of assaults, robberies, and other crimes involving a gun. Many of these crimes were committed by people who never should have been able to purchase a gun in the first place.” It continues, “Hundreds of law enforcement officers have been shot to death protecting their communities. And too many children are killed or injured by firearms every year, often by accident. The vast majority of Americans—including the vast majority of gun owners—believe we must take sensible steps to address these horrible tragedies.”

The “gun-show loophole,” a term that the national news has been using repeatedly, is an exemption to the Brady Bill, the older system of gun purchasing that Obama’s legislation will replace. The Bill includes a mandated wait time after purchase, in which “secondary markets” (gun shows and/or online vendors) were exempted from Brady Bill regulations. Obama’s legislation will close that loophole, applying the Brady Bill to gun shows and online vendors, mandating that “if you’re in the business of selling firearms, you must get a license and conduct background checks.”

In a press briefing following the President’s speech, White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest said that the funding for the bill will be “incorporated into the budget proposal that [Obama will] present to Congress next month.” However, that budget proposal will place the mental health expansion into Obamacare, which the majority Republican Congress has repealed 60 times, according to Earnest.

Conservative presidential candidates such as Ted Cruz have stated their opposition to Obama’s legislation, often saying that Obama is willing to take the guns away from Americans.  The simple fact of the matter is that Obama’s actions do not take away people’s guns. The four-part act only places regulations on buying and selling firearms, and creating a network of accountability to protect ordinary citizens from people who are planning to do harm. The evidence for the safety can be found in the White House’s fact sheet released on Jan. 4.

Many Republicans believe Obama’s acts break the Second Amendment of the Constitution. The Second Amendment states, “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed, as a well regulated Militia is necessary to the security of a free State.” However, Republicans continually omit “well regulated Militia” in order to push their agenda. A society in which 100 percent of the population owns a gun is not well regulated, nor is it a militia. The NRA is in support of knocking down potential gun control laws. The NRA has also continually put majority Republican politicians into their pockets and bought congressional elections against gun control.

In 1977, the NRA changed course from giving safety and hunting classes to becoming a political powerhouse. The NRA began reading the Second Amendment as a right for the individual rather than for what it was originally intended–the militiamen. Militias were, and still are, interested in the protection of the American people from a failure of democracy. The NRA, by repeatedly purchasing politicians to support its agenda is the exact definition of “failure of democracy.”

In the 2014 election cycle, the NRA gave out over $3.3 billion to politicians in the form of lobbying according to The Supreme Court does allow non-disclosure on the amount paid to politicians by lobbyists–meaning that politicians don’t have to declare how much money they receive from lobbyists. That means that $3.3 billion might be below the true amount.  

    Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 12.43.38 PMLobbying with money is the political equivalent of bribery. The fact that the NRA bribes so many politicians into spreading false truths about the Second Amendment, and that includes Colorado State Representative Ken Buck (R).

Buck has an A-rating from the NRA. As the self-defined, “most conservative member of Congress,” Buck opposes gun control legislation with such ferocity that he
broke Washington DC’s laws on gun ownership on April 17 in 2015 by tweeting out a picture of himself and a friend posing with an AR-15 in his D.C. office. Washington does not allow for the private citizens to own guns.

The investigation into the event was dismissed. This event does show that there are people willing to break the law to promote a political idea that has led to the deaths of 49 thousand people by guns in 2015, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

But why does gun control matter? The 49 thousand deaths, subtracting accidental deaths, yields an average of 136 gun deaths per day. This astonishing number doesn’t even phase most Americans. Why?

The thousands of people that have died were brutally murdered in home invasions and mass shootings, amongst others. Only large occurrences make statewide or nation-wide news. This apathy to the frequency of acts of violence is most likely a major reason as to why the NRA gets away with their bribery.

Many arguments against gun control include the claim that the government should distribute more firearms to civilians because, “The way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun,” according to NRA Vice President Wayne LaPierre, in an interview with CBS News. Besides the logistical nightmare that it would be to get guns into the hands of people that should be in every school, hospital, church, and every home in case of a home invasion, the efforts would be ineffective.

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 1.07.17 PMAccording to The FBI, only 3 percent of all active shooter situations from 2000 to 2013 were ended by citizens. A 97 percent failure rate is nowhere near the ballpark of acceptable. It is extremely unlikely that the average citizen would be ready to handle the situation a shooter would be creating.

Despite the endless calls by politicians and the NRA, arming the public is not the best answer. The best answer is to deprive would-be shooters of their choice weapon, all while preserving the true meaning of the Second Amendment: keeping guns in the hands of state militias intended for preserving America as Americans know it.

Politicians and gun lobbies repeatedly bypass laws democracy to preserve a misconstrued definition of the Second Amendment while promoting an alternative idea to gun control which would be more of a logistical nightmare than placing better gun control laws to save more lives.




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Obama’s Executive Order on gun control is a step in the right direction – OPINION