It was a chilling scene when the widow of Chris Kyle, the man whose life inspired the film American Sniper, got up to question Obama directly about his stance on gun control at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.
CNN reports that the town hall gathering was a civil one despite the differences in views from opposing parties. Obama took questions from many different people and kept composure in his responses.
“The way it is described is that we are trying to take away everybody’s guns,” Obama said. “Our position is consistently mischaracterized… If you listen to the rhetoric, it is so over-the-top, it is so overheated.”
Taya Kyle got up to speak with Obama directly.
She started off by leveling with the president, saying, “I think that your message of hope is something I agree with. And I think it’s great and I think that by creating new laws you do give people hope.”
However, she then got into the meat of her concerns, saying, “The thing is that the laws that we create don’t stop these horrific things from happening. And that’s a very tough pill to swallow. We want to think that we can make a law and people will follow it. By the very nature of their crime they’re not following it. By the very nature of looking at the people who hurt our loved ones here, I don’t know that any of them would’ve been stopped by a background check.”
The president sat there calm and collected, nodding at Taya’s remarks.
She finished by saying, “And yet I crave that desire for hope too. So I think part of it is that we have to recognize we can not outlaw murder, because the people that are murdering are breaking the law but they also don’t have a moral code that we have. And so they could do the same amount of damage with a pipe bomb, the problem is that they want to murder. And I wonder whether it would be a better use of our time to give people hope in a different way.”
It’s definitely a worthy concern from Taya, but later on, Obama maintained his belief that not every criminal is getting guns illegally.
The Hollywood Reporter stated Obama responded directly to Kyle, guaranteeing her that “you will be able to purchase a firearm.”
He stressed that law-abiding citizens could still get guns, but a system needs to be set up where people “can have a firearm to protect yourself” while also making it harder for somebody to “fill up a car with guns and sell them to 13-year-old kids on the streets.”
He continued, saying, “The fact that the system doesn’t catch every single person… has to be weighed against the fact that we might be able to save a whole bunch of families from the grief that some of the people in this audience have had to go through.”
A recent poll released by CNN states that a majority of people support Obama’s measures taken this week, but less than half of Americans think that it will work. Seventy-nine percent of Republicans disapprove of Obama’s decision to go around Congress to change gun laws. Despite the divide, Taya Kyle’s questioning of Obama was the kind of peaceful, reasonable communication that we need to be able to fix the tough issues.
[Photo by the Associated Press]