President Barack Obama may be ready to issue an executive order in answer to gun violence in America. It wouldn’t be his first. In total, Obama has issued 23 orders since 2012 in the hopes of curbing the troubling onslaught of mass shootings. His actions were prompted in large part by the Sandy Hook shooting, which saw 20 children and six adults killed.
It became apparent that Obama was ready to act — with or without Congress — when he addressed the nation last Thursday, following the Umpqua College mass shooting tragedy.
“Our thoughts and prayers are not enough. [It] does not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel. And it does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted someplace else in America.”
Attempting to curb gun violence in the United States has been a trying issue for the Obama administration. Mediaite noted that the number of executive orders has upset gun advocates, who claim that the president is overstepping his authority. There seems to be a growing fear among some conservative quarters that President Obama is planning to use his authority to forcibly disarm Americans. Except that’s not what Obama’s executive orders are attempting to do at all.
According to CBS News, the newest executive order by Obama would firmly clarify which persons or businesses are federally registered gun dealers. The Washington Post writes that dealers who exceed a certain number of sales per year “would be required to obtain a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.” It would also make background checks mandatory for anyone hoping to purchase weapons from these dealers.
— CBS Local (@cbslocal) October 9, 2015
Obama intends “to enforce the laws that we have in place more effectively to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.” To more effectively do this, the face of “the criminals” is going to have to change — and change forever. So much of what drives gun sales are racially-charged presumptions about the “non-white other” — The idea that someone who isn’t white is automatically dangerous. Ironically, it was this thought process that got an unarmed black teen named Trayvon Martin killed, and let his racist murderer, George Zimmerman, walk.
If you think white Americans are not a significant part of our national gun violence epidemic you’ve proved that racism is a mental disease.
— Touré (@Toure) October 6, 2015
With the fear factor in mind, it is rather disturbing how many Americans are growing indifferent to the reality of gun violence, treating it as part of the country’s landscape — as something that’s supposed to be expected, and ultimately unavoidable. Some persons have gone as far as to call those who don’t arm themselves in the wake of mass shootings “suicidal.” Staunch anti-gun control advocate Ted Nugent made his remarks public.
“Meanwhile, those losers amongst us – spinelessly discarding self-evident truth, logic, common sense and pure human instinct – continue to fall for the big lie of political correctness, and get cut down by murderous maniacs like blind sheep to slaughter.”
While Mr. Nugent certainly doesn’t speak for all gun advocates, his rhetoric echoes a belief among a number of Americans that the solution to the mass shootings and unchecked gun violence is more guns. The gun industry strongly supports this message and has made billions of dollars in the wake of gun-related tragedies.
Though conservatives note that executive orders by Obama haven’t halted mass shootings, it’s worth noting that deregulating the gun industry and giving dangerous individuals easier access to weapons isn’t a viable solution either.
We might not go the same route as Australia, which enacted strict gun laws in the wake of the 1996 Port Author massacre. However, Obama is right when it comes to our gun culture and related gun violence problem. The act of sending thoughts and prayers really isn’t enough. Proactive measures must be taken.
— FOX 12 Oregon KPTV (@fox12oregon) October 9, 2015
President Obama might use an executive order to push change forward, but we have three branches of government. Congress has to act on this issue, and act in the best interest of the American people — not the gun industry and its lobbyists. The Supreme Court, which is still reeling from the headache of weighing in on same-sex marriage, may have to once again tackle an important constitutional issue.
In this case: was the 2nd amendment created with the expectation that America would devolve into a place where mass shootings were a daily reality thanks to lax gun regulation? Comment below.
[Image Credit: Photo by Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images]