Obama Acts on Gun Control

Bonnie Praphatphong , Staff Writer

President Obama has made an important step, in his opinion, to try to curve gun violence in American.

He made an emotional announcement calling for a national, “sense of urgency” to prevent and possibly stop gun violence. The momentous announcement came after the most recent mass shooting, which occurred last December in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 and injuring 22.

San Bernardino was one of the latest, but unfortunately not the first mass shooting to occur last year let alone in the month it happened. Steps toward stricter gun control laws have been halted in the past and this is the first major executive action or plan to possibly be enacted.

Gun violence, a topic that has been highly debated, has sadly become more prevalent in the daily lives of americans. Incidents of mass shootings in high schools, college campuses, and movie theaters have become a daily occurrence to all Americans, especially for those affected by gun violence such as in the victims’ family and friends, but the public watching on the news has increased too. 

President Obama’s journey to this action for stricter gun control began after he was personally moved by the mass shooting at an elementary school. The first of its kind as it pertained to children happened December 14, 2012, in Newton, Conn. The shooter, a troubled man and who’s mental heath worsened leading up to the event, killed 20 children and 6 adult school staff members.

President Obama chose to introduce Mark Barden, a father who’s son Daniel was killed at Sandy Hook. Obama was overcome by emotion as he reflected on the daily gun violence in America and most notably by the school shooting that took Barden’s son’s life.

“Every time I think about the kids, it gets me mad,” Obama said, as he paused to wipe tears from his eyes.

Aside from the emotions that came though in the speech, he focused on his belief in the need for gun control. Obama’s executive order calls for increased background checks for buyers and includes increased measures to those who sell firearms. In addition, the plan calls for a background check system that cover guns bought online, at gun shows, and in person.

Junior Adrienne Crow agrees with Obama’s executive action.

“I think its a good idea and I think it would make things safer for those who own guns and those who don’t,” said Crow. “This policy should have been in place years ago.”

Senior Jonathan Ruiz agrees with the expanded background checks, but says, “The expanded background checks are a good thing, but I don’t think lots of funding into guns [gun safety technology] needs to happen when we should use it on education and such that would stop this from happening in the first place.”

President Obama also touched on mental health and stated that he would increase funding into mental health treatment and gun safety technology.

Many students like Jazzmine Sta Rosa support Obama’s plan to increase funding into mental health.

“I agree that we should increase spending in mental health research and treatment because mental illnesses are so often overlooked and are only noticed when it is too late,” said Sta Rosa.

Opposition to this executive order has been heard, mainly from the Republican party and gun-rights owners and activists.

Republican presidential front-runner Ted Cruz opposes Obama’s plan as he thinks the focus is misplaced saying, “Look, he’s targeting private consensual gun sales between law-abiding citizens and this is what Obama gets wrong over and over again … he can’t distinguish between what good guys and bad guys,” said Cruz.

The history of gun control in America did not begin with President Barrack Obama. This highly debated issue has been present for more than 100 years. Starting with president Franklin Roosevelt’s polices in the 1930s to the present, gun control has been debated, enacted, stopped, and everything in between. Can this plan stop a mass shooting? Is it worth the time and money spent? Or is it just a start towards a bigger path?

During the press conference, Obama made his case.

“We know we can’t stop every act of violence, every act of evil in the world. But maybe we could try to stop one act of evil, one act of violence.”