The hunting tradition is considered extremely important by the citizens of United States. It goes back to the time when hunting was regarded as a profession by some, the means to obtain food for some of the early settlers and a way to deter animal predators. Age-old American traditions involved the use of gun as a rite of passage for young boys entering into manhood. Today more than 37% of the households in America have at least one gun. Debates regarding the availability of firearms for the general public have been held since the 1990s. In United States, gun legislation is greatly constrained by the judicial interpretations of the Constitution.
In 1791, the United States adopted the second amendment which states: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” This amendment has been the cause of great uproar and the reason why the Supreme Court rulings upheld the right of states to regulate firearms.
In the past few years, guns have been the reason for the loss of a lot of lives, especially a series of mass killings. Some of the most horrendous killings were the killing of 20 school children in December 2012 in Connecticut. 2015 saw some more of these shootings which involved the murder of nine people at a church in South Carolina and the death of 14 people by terrorists in San Bernardino, California.
Obama’s executive actions
These attacks fueled many debates. In January 2016, President Obama unveiled a series of executive actions which intend to keep a check on gun violence in the country. He also intends to direct the federal government to research gun-safety technology and also run background checks more efficiently by hiring more personnel. These were considered to be modest steps towards regulating gun laws.
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The changes will tighten, but not close, the gun laws in the country. The changes are also meant to streamline the processes involved in tracking lost or stolen guns. Obama’s executive actions include the following:
- The Federal government will issue guidance which will help in narrowing gun sellers who work without a license.
- The FBI will increase its manpower by over 230 people to help the organization with accurate background checks.
- The government also intends to make background checks necessary for people who try to buy restricted firearms through a legal entity.
- Rules may be set regarding the accessibility of mental health records for the background checks.
- The rules regarding the reporting of lost or stolen gun will be tightened.
- Federal agencies will take steps to further research of gun safety.
Positive Reactions to Obama’s steps to curtail gun laws
Obama was praised by a lot of people for his attempts to take steps by which the availability of guns for the general public is limited.
Hilary Clinton – She found Obama’s efforts to be worthy of praise and said that she will take it further if she was elected.
Sen. Berne Sanders – Sanders applauded Obama for trying to ensure that guns were not made available easily. He suggested that these reforms will be accepted happily by responsible gun owners after the numerous deaths by rogue gunmen.
Maryland Gov. Martin O’ Malley – He said that he strongly supported Obama’s actions which can help save many lives and make the society a safer place. O’ Malley mentioned that the more time we spend arguing about it rather than acting on it, the more lives we end up losing.
Negative Reaction to Obama’s steps to curb gun laws
Reactions were instant and they posed Obama as the person responsible for taking away their fundamental rights.
Sen. Ted Cruz – His reaction was one of the most noticeable as his campaign site showcased a picture of Obama with military gear and the page read, “Obama wants your guns!”
Sen. Marco Rubio – His new campaign ad also found Obama’s steps to be inconsiderate stating, “His plan after the attack in San Bernardino: Take away your guns”.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush – He stated that Obama’s steps would trample the second amendment. Bush certainly did not like the way Obama was taking steps to make gun laws more stringent.
Arkansas Gov. Mick Huckbee – He tweeted that Obama should pay more attention to stopping abortions rather than going after gun laws.
While the country may be divided about their opinion regarding the changes presented by Obama, we are aware that guns have been the cause of horrendous crimes. Obama may have a point in putting forward these executive actions, and for those who are responsible users of firearms, there is hardly a reason to worry because you will still be able to possess one.