Barely into 2013 and his second term, President Obama is working on the difficult issue of gun politics, initiating a gun task force lead by Vice-President Biden. I hope he and this task force can muster all the political finesse that will be required to get around the NRA and pro-gun supporters in Congress.
It seems one of the aims of this task force will be to call for the reinstatement of a crime bill that expired in 2004 which banned assault weapons. Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. is proposing a revamped version which would ban the sale or manufacture of a reported 120 firearms. This would include semiautomatic rifles and military style handguns.
Shortly after the Newtown shooting, the President made a comment directed at Congress and the NRA. Namely, that they need to change their mentality when it comes to legislation related to guns. Not all legislation is an “encroachment on the second amendment.” I whole-heartedly agree. Legislation will never ban the right to bear arms. As I discussed in a previous blog post, people driving cars kill people and people shooting guns kill people. But we don’t talk about banning cars and, I highly doubt guns will ever be banned… thanks to the gun lobby.
I’ve said it before and will say it again, better regulation is needed. According to an article in the International Business Times, one of the measures being considered in this task force is requiring “universal background checks for firearms buyers” which, by the way, I still can’t believe isn’t already a current requirement for people buying guns. Another requirement apparently in consideration is “increasing regulations for mental health checks.” Something that I also believe should have been implemented long ago.
This may be a rhetorical question, but why is it that the NRA and other “pro-gun” people get riled up so much when someone mentions anything about putting some necessary regulations in place? I’d love to hear some valid opinions and objections.
Following the Newtown shooting, the NRA president Wayne LaPierre apparently suggested that the solution to such shootings was to place armed guards in every school. Supposedly the NRA is creating a “model national schools shield emergency program” to combat school violence. Wow, what brilliant ideas. Columbine high school had an armed guard yet a shooting still took place and young people were still killed. Gun violence doesn’t take place only in schools! Take a look at the mass shootings that took place in 2012 and where they took place.
Placing more people with more guns in schools or wherever else will not even remotely resolve this issue. I could be really cynical here and ask whether we’re really going to be able to implement better gun control and do something about all the gun violence? I’m not saying nothing can be done, but with the NRA on one side of the fence and the President and his task force on the other, I remain skeptical that much can be done. It remains to be seen what sorts of recommendations are actually given and which are carried out.