How to: execut(iv)e gun control

Willie Sadler

A teary-eyed Obama spoke of his
new executive action on gun control
at a press conference on January 4.
This order is meant to make headway
on gun control by bypassing
congress. The goals of this executive
order, as stated by the White House,
are to “Keep guns out of the wrong
hands through background checks,
make our communities safer from
gun violence, increase mental health
treatment and reporting to the background
check system and shape the
future of gun safety technology.”
The executive action does more
than just increase background
checks and their effectiveness and
efficiency. It also makes all firearm
dealers, meaning people who are in
the business of selling firearms, acquire
a license and perform background
checks. This is aimed to put a
stop to the “gun-show loophole” and
internet sales. Under the action, the
FBI will hire over 230 new employees
to help process the background
checks, which will now take place
24/7. Notification to local authorities
on those attempting to illegally
purchase a gun will improve as well.
The executive order has not been
put into law and may not be for a
while. An executive order from 2014
meant to defer the deportation of
illegal immigrants has not yet been
put into law, as it is currently at a
standstill in a legal battle in the Supreme
Court. Even if this gun control
executive order goes through,
all of the current Republican candidates
that have spoken on the issue
said they would reverse the action if
elected.
Members of the GOP challenged
the latest executive action. Senator
Charles E. Grassley, the Judiciary
Committee Chairman, said he and
his colleagues are going to review
the executive order and make sure
the Second Amendment is preserved.
House Speaker Paul Ryan brought
up that the current law already requires
people who sell firearms to be
licensed. Then he stated that Obama
was just focusing on law-abiding citizens,
not criminals or terrorists.
“I think that Obama using his executive
action to enforce more gun
control is a terrible idea. I feel that
he should not be circumventing congress,
because that’s what our founding
fathers based our government
on: to make sure there are checks
and balances to keep things in
order. So, by him cir- cumventing
congress he is doing something
that should not be done. Also, I
don’t think that is going to help us
at all because the people that acquire
them don’t acquire them legally,” junior
Johnny Hutson said.
While the right heavily criticized
Obama, there was praise from the
left. In a tweet, Hillary Clinton both
applauded Obama and said the next
president should not remove the
progress. On visits to New Hampshire
and Iowa, she also said she
would further gun control if elected.
Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut
commented on the action, saying
that more background checks at gun
shows will lower both the number of
illegal guns sold and the number of
criminals that buy guns.
“I think that Obama’s executive
order for background checks on guns
is a good step towards bettering gun
safety and awareness in America,”
sophomore Bella Seip said.
Obama emphasized in his speech
that he understands this is not going
to stop every tragedy, but it is a step
in preventing them. He compared
it to how there are measures taken
to lower traffic accidents. Then he
called upon Congress to act on the
issue and pass new legislation, as he
can only do but so much.
A CNN/ORC poll from December
shows that the country is split on
the issue, with 48 percent for more
gun control and 51 percent opposed.
The poll also shows that support for
how Obama is handling gun policy
has dropped from 46 percent to 35
percent since 2013. Only 56 percent
of Democrats approve of his gun policy,
which is a far lower percentage
than on other issues.

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