I don’t get it. I really don’t get it. Yesterday the President stood before families who lost loved ones in the Sandy Hook tragedy, children who wrote letters to him following the tragedy, and the whole rest of the World. He did what he said he was going to do; put forth a plan to respect the Second Amendment, but increase the overall health and safety of the American people. Some highlights:
…while there is no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence completely, no piece of legislation that will prevent every tragedy, every act of evil, if there is even one thing we can do to reduce this violence, if there is even one life that can be saved, then we’ve got an obligation to try….I will sign a directive giving law enforcement, schools, mental health professionals and the public health community some of the tools they need to help reduce gun violence….We will make it easier to keep guns out of the hands of criminals by strengthening the background check system. We will help schools hire more resource officers if they want them and develop emergency preparedness plans. We will make sure mental health professionals know their options for reporting threats of violence — even as we acknowledge that someone with a mental illness is far more likely to be a victim of violent crime than the perpetrator….I will direct the Centers for Disease Control to go ahead and study the best ways to reduce it — and Congress should fund research into the effects that violent video games have on young minds….We should get tougher on people who buy guns with the express purpose of turning around and selling them to criminals. And we should severely punish anybody who helps them do this….And at a time when budget cuts are forcing many communities to reduce their police force, we should put more cops back on the job and back on our streets.
The White House website displays the following bullet point list of objectives. (On the website there is a drop down for each point with a more detailed explanation.)
- Require background checks for all gun sales
- Strengthen the background check system for gun sales
- Pass a new, stronger ban on assault weapons
- Limit ammunition magazines to 10 rounds
- Finish the job of getting armor-piercing bullets off the streets
- Give law enforcement additional tools to prevent and prosecute gun crime
- End the freeze on gun violence research
- Make our schools safer with new resource officers and counselors, better emergency response plans, and more nurturing school climates
- Ensure quality coverage of mental health treatment, particularly for young people
And with that the NRA spin went into a gear I didn’t even know was existent in the human realm. In researching this post I saw headlines such as:
NRA planning ‘the fight of the century’ against Obama ~Washington Post
NRA Slams Obama Gun Control Proposal ~Huffington Post
Pundits showed up on news programs red in the face with outrage. But why? Can someone please explain to me what on the list above is such a threat to the NRA doing business safely and respectfully? No, I’m serious, somebody explain this to me, because these outlines seem like, dare I say, “no-brainers.” If you are a law-abiding citizen gun owner who has passed a background check and obtained a license…If you have no intention of sharing, selling, or giving your gun to someone who has not submitted to a background check and does not possess a license… if you are hunting animals and not obliterating them with magazine clips greater than 10 rounds per clip… if you are THAT person then I don’t see why you would have a problem with the President’s “American Safety” proposal (my term, not his) because it doesn’t actually change your life in the least. It doesn’t affect YOU, the responsible, respectful, law-abiding gun owner. Not that I can see from where I sit. So what is the issue?
You know the spin started even before the President spoke. The NRA launched a pre-emptive strike in the form of a new commercial yesterday calling President Obama a hypocrite for having Secret Service protection for his children at school, but not being willing to have armed protection for regular folks’ kids at their school. But that confuses me too. First of all, by law the Secret Service is tasked with protecting the President, the Vice President and their families. So President Obama isn’t making an elitist choice having his daughters’ protected by the Secret Service; he is complying with the law. But even beyond that little tidbit of truth that was completely ignored in the commercial: one of the points in President Obama’s plan is to allocate funds to schools across the country to create action safety plans, and to hire Resource Officers to increase the overall level of protection for all students. Is the NRA’s issue that these Resource Officers won’t be Secret Service? Is that why they want us to be mad? I’ll be honest with you, the thought of janitors already employed in schools now being strapped with a gun (a proposal making its way around the country) terrfiies me to my core. In that case I would absolutely understand “Secret Service envy.” But if there is a comprehensive plan to be put in place, backed by a viable budget to hire and train qualified individuals to stand guard over our children at school, even I would be open to it. So why is the NRA, who wants more people to carry guns anyway, opposed to such a proposal by the President? Really.
The NRA has claimed that it takes a finger to pull a trigger as a basis for why gun control laws are ineffectual at curbing violence like what happened at Sandy Hook. But then why are they opposed to the proposal by the President to make an investment in mental health care in order to help assure that the people attached to those trigger fingers are as healthy and of sound mind as possible? Senator Marco Rubio, a star GOP leader out of Florida, has been reported as saying:
“Nothing the president is proposing would have stopped the massacre at Sandy Hook…President Obama is targeting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens instead of seriously addressing the real underlying causes of such violence.”
The official written response from the NRA to President Obama’s plan went as follows:
Fairfax, Va. –- Throughout its history, the National Rifle Association has led efforts to promote safety and responsible gun ownership. Keeping our children and society safe remains our top priority.
The NRA will continue to focus on keeping our children safe and securing our schools, fixing our broken mental health system, and prosecuting violent criminals to the fullest extent of the law. We look forward to working with Congress on a bi-partisan basis to find real solutions to protecting America’s most valuable asset –- our children.
Attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation. Only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy.
Not quite the fighting words that the headlines allude to. In fact, if the words of the statement are to believed then we should be ready to shake hands and agree tomorrow. How could I say that? Well, look at what the President said during his press conference.
…Let me be absolutely clear. Like most Americans, I believe the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. I respect our strong tradition of gun ownership and the rights of hunters and sportsmen. There are millions of responsible, law-abiding gun owners in America who cherish their right to bear arms for hunting, or sport, or protection, or collection. I also believe most gun owners agree that we can respect the Second Amendment while keeping an irresponsible, law-breaking few from inflicting harm on a massive scale. I believe most of them agree that if America worked harder to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, there would be fewer atrocities like the one that occurred in Newtown. That’s what these reforms are designed to do.
Sounds like they are on the same page to me. So what’s really the problem? I just don’t get it. Do you?
For more tips on talking to your kids about violence and the Newtown tragedy please go HERE.
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