“This is our first task as a society: keeping our children safe. This is how we will be judged. We can’t put this off any longer.”
After the Sandy Hook shooting that chilled every person in America to their core; after watching President Barack Obama spill real tears on national television; after all of America sat down to dinner with their families and felt utterly blessed that they did not live in Newtown, Connecticut; after all of this, one clear issue came to the forefront of American politics: gun control.
Just over a month after the December 14th killing of twenty children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School, President Obama issued 23 executive orders regarding gun control. Because an executive order can be issued directly from a president, bypassing the approval of the House of Representatives and the Senate, these orders will go into effect immediately and will hold the power of law. Executive orders tend to be reserved for only the most serious of situations, and most of America can probably agree that right now is one of those times.
President Obama’s executive orders include: the launching of a national campaign on safe gun ownership, more reports on lost and stolen guns, additional training to police and school officials for active shooter situations, further research into the prevention of gun violence, the development of emergency response programs for schools, more guidance to private gun dealers regarding how to issue a thorough background check, and the start of a national discussion regarding mental health.
These executive orders are meant to help prevent gun violence until a proposal for a bill created by Joe Biden can make its way through the House and Senate, which will most likely take a considerable amount of time. This proposal would cost around 500 million dollars and would include more striking actions, such as requiring criminal background checks for any gun sale, banning assault weapons, issuing funds to hire more police officers, and paying for mental health services for students.
As expected, the National Rifle Association has attacked President Obama and Vice President Biden’s plans, claiming that the administration is “attacking firearms and ignoring children.” However, Obama’s administration maintains that they are not in any way making an effort to take guns away from people who already lawfully and responsibly own them. Nonetheless, the NRA will be rigorously attempting to prevent any measure from being passed through Congress that affects the sale of guns. The association has, however said they want to make efforts to “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.”
Obama has also said in addresses to the nation that he needs the support of the American people. “We are going to need voices in those areas and congressional districts where the tradition of gun ownership is strong … This will not happen unless the American people demand it.”
Seeming to agree with Barack Obama are many high-profile celebrities, including Jennifer Aniston, Beyonce, Jessica Alba, and Jamie Fox. On December 21st, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and Mayors Against Illegal Weapons put forth a video including these celebrities and dozens more asking America to demand a plan to end gun violence. The video left me covered in goose bumps. If you haven’t viewed it yet, you can see it here.
Gun regulation is a high-tension topic in the United States, and where you stand is up to you. However, if you do agree with Barack Obama and Joe Biden’s plan, you can sign a petition at demandaplan.org. After all, according to Mr. Obama on his inauguration day, “Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm.”