This is an interesting article about Obama's past stance on gun control written yesterday. I've included snippets below:
In his first month in office, Obama overturned a 20-year ban on loaded guns in national parks and wildlife refuges. Licensed gun owners from any state can now carry concealed, loaded weapons on federal land.
Ten months later, as part of an omnibus spending bill, Obama reversed a decade-long ban on transporting firearms by train. Amtrak travelers can now carry unloaded, locked weapons in their checked baggage.
These actions, and others, are what earned Obama an “F” from the Brady Center for Gun Violence in 2010 for “extraordinary silence and passivity” on gun control. But Obama saw the moves differently.
“The fact is, almost all gun owners in America are highly responsible,” Obama wrote in the Star. “They’re our friends and neighbors. They buy their guns legally and use them safely, whether for hunting or target shooting, collection or protection. And that’s something that gun-safety advocates need to accept.”
"As president, Obama has always emphasized the need to keep guns out of the wrong hands, rather than restrict the availability of guns or gun parts themselves. In his few public comments on the issue as president, Obama has called for enforcement of existing laws and improvements to the national background check system.
The background check system “hasn’t been properly implemented. It relies on data supplied by states – but that data is often incomplete and inadequate,” Obama wrote in his March 2011 op-ed. “We should in fact reward the states that provide the best data – and therefore do the most to protect our citizens… we should make the system faster and nimbler.
“We should provide an instant, accurate, comprehensive and consistent system for background checks to sellers who want to do the right thing, and make sure that criminals can’t escape it,” he wrote.
Experts say that beefing up the system — and improving its ability to catch mental illness among potential gun buyers — is something that Obama could do right away via executive order. One proposal includes directing more state or federal agencies with knowledge of a person’s mental competency or drug use to funnel that information into one, central background check system."
If people are ready to believe all gun owners are created equal in their recklessness, irresponsiblity, and violent fanatasicm, there is no question that we would not be able to walk down the street with 300 million guns floating around. I think we should exhaust all resources before we consider taking the rights of any citizen under any circumstance. This is the foundation of democracy which needs to be exercised as emotionally challenging as the task is at hand. I realize it is also the calling card of our nation to protect those that can not defend themselves; it is a way of life and spirit that has not only built this country but also shaped the world. The failure to protect small children's lives from a gun wielding mass murderer is the inconceivable human toll of this very way of life.
It is clearly wrong that lives of citizens and innocent children continue to have to pay for the country's political gridlock and inability to take decisive action on any level. With an outright gun ban being the definition of immediate action. But I believe that it is a continuation of that injustice if individual freedoms are taken away simply because bureaucratic inaction is so bad it has allowed even military styled assault rifles to remain on the shelves of Wal Mart despite all other countless tragedies? To me, these are issues about common sense- not just rights. Yet common sense is often overlooked in favor of extreme action to remove an entire Amendment. Maybe the country is so disillusioned by it's own crippling grid locked politics and ability to experience an effective democracy, that compromising a collective freedom is the final resort to the impossible system.
I can respect a President that is not quick to infringe on the rights of it's citizens, but rather is able to acknowledge failing structures within our society that can be improved to help prevent violent tragedies. Based on this article, I would include the priority of rigid and effective background checks on gun owners to the list of failing government responsibilities which can greatly influence guns falling into the wrong hands. To propose implementing state led incentive programs as well as the manpower to provide the best data on gun ownership, we can strategically move forward to customize a tangible working solution to propose on a national scale. In turn, there can be greater accountability as well as legal restrictions and punishments put on those that an effective system is able to track and follow. There is no question we need to eliminate the accessibility of war grade weapons to the general public. But without these critical first steps in repairing and improving the issues from the ground up, how can anyone say that as a society we've done the very best to protect our communities? If the Bushmaster AR-15 and other war grade rifles in it's category were not readily available for the public, then perhaps for potential inexperienced mass murderers the idea of eliminating lives in the shortest increment of time would be logistically discouraged rather than grossly entertained.
But maybe I am at the mercy of my own idealistic, philosophical shortcomings and I am completely wrong. That there is truly just one answer to this; that even Amendments can outlive their own validity in an ever changing world and that no guns will absolutely prevent greater loss of life. Maybe there are actual calculable limitations to our freedoms in the context of a changing world even though we've been indoctrinated in this country that there are not. Guns are as American as apple pie and apple pie is as American as freedom itself.
In the future, maybe we must be ready to admit when a task far exceeds our resources to solve; that even as a free nation we can not always overcome the sum of our dysfuntional parts.