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Obama’s State of the Union Address: Gun Control

President Obama used part of his State of the Union address Tuesday night to passionately discuss gun control laws, as well as proposing to raise the minimum wage, job ideas and early education. The second amendment of the United States Constitution gives Americans the right to bear arms, although President Obama does not agree with this amendment in its entirety.

About 56 minutes into the address, Obama brought tears and a roaring applause to the crowd. He spoke about the tragic deadly rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School, along with other acts of gun violence that have ended in mass devastation. Through this approach he began to speak about his newly proposed gun control laws.

Gun control is an issue that has recently been emphasized by the media, and it is at the top of Obama’s reform agenda. He somewhat cleared up confusion of what these proposed gun control laws entail during his address. However, Obama predominantly urged a divided Congress to vote favorably on a series of them.

“The families of Newtown deserve a vote. The families of Aurora deserve a vote. The families of Oak Creek, and Tucson, and Blacksburg, and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence — they deserve a simple vote,” Obama said.

Obama demanded extensive support for strengthened background checks to purchase a gun, such as an assault-weapons ban, and a ban on high-capacity magazines. He believes that these proposals will lessen the gun violence in America.

“Senators of both parties are working together on tough new laws to prevent anyone from buying guns for resale to criminals,” said Obama. “Police chiefs are asking our help to get weapons of war and massive ammunition magazines off our streets, because these police chiefs, they’re tired of seeing their guys and gals being outgunned. Each of these proposals deserves a vote in Congress.”

Simply, the President’s plan includes:

1. Closing background check loopholes to keep guns out of dangerous hands;

2. Banning military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and taking other common-sense steps to reduce gun violence;

3. Making schools safer; and

4. Increasing access to mental health services

Statistics show that 40 to 45 percent of US households own a gun. According to the United States Census Bureau, on October 1, 1987, Florida’s right-to-carry law became effective. This law requires that concealed carry licensees be 21 years of age or older, have clean criminal/mental health records, and complete a firearms safety/training course.

As of July 31, 2010, Florida has issued 1,825,143 permits and has 746,430 active licensees, constituting roughly 5.4 percent of the state’s population that is 21 years of age or older. Since the outset of the Florida right-to-carry law, the Florida murder rate has averaged 36 percent lower than it was before the law took effect, while the U.S. murder rate has averaged 15 percent lower.

So, who is to say that the tactics that we have been using are unsuccessful? The proposals are still up for debate and everyone seems to have a different opinion. The ultimate decision will be what Congress decides on.

At the State of the Union address, Obama also discussed some items on his “wish-list,” including: raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 an hour, passing an immigration reform and being out of war by next year.

According to Fox News, Republicans still saw in his address a president clinging to ideas they have repeatedly rejected and say do not work. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who was delivering the GOP response, said Obama’s solution “to virtually every problem we face is for Washington to tax more, borrow more and spend more.” More government, he said, will “hold you back.”

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