The Harbinger Online

Editorial: Hitting the Mark

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photo courtesy of MCT Campus

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From President Barack Obama’s many speeches over gun violence, it is clear that gun control has always been a priority of the Obama administration. However, Obama’s intention to take action on enforcing gun control was not made until he issued his 23 executive actions in response to the Sandy Hook shooting in January of 2013. More recently, he addressed it at his final State of the Union Address on Jan. 12. His plan is to make sure guns are only used in the safest possible way, by qualified people. We at the Harbinger believe that President Obama’s gun control measures will only control guns in regards to the safety of Americans, not confiscate them or usurp our Second Amendment rights.

The measures that Obama hopes to take, such as required background checks and investing more in deterring gun trafficking, have been met with great opposition from both the Republican Party and the NRA. They have slandered his intentions under the veil of ‘anti-constitutional’ arguments. It is clear to us that the President’s intent is not to confiscate guns; instead he hopes to make sure that those who are seen as a hazard do not have the opportunity to own and use them. The background checks that the executive orders call for will at least mitigate the number of people with ill-intentions that are able to purchase guns.

It is reasonable to see these frequent mass shootings, where guns have fallen into the wrong hands, and think, ‘We have got to fix this.’ Many believe the President’s actions are unconstitutional and limit our freedom, but we aren’t free when we live in fear of being shot while in a movie theater, at work or even school.

Obama’s administration is not taking away the freedoms of Americans by enforcing gun control, they are ensuring our safety. There are many instances where the law diminishes the rights of individuals who propose a clear and present danger to the public. If people weren’t worried about their safety they wouldn’t agree to go through TSA. It’s the same reasoning with trying to prevent gun violence through gun control. Congress and the Supreme Court have already outlined that certain individuals do not have the same right as everyone else in relation to gun ownership. It is the President’s duty to sharpen the focus of what that means.

In contrast to that, the NRA and the gun lobby have been successful in influencing politicians to side with their minority viewpoint for years, even though multiple polls show that 80 to 90 percent of people support background checks. We expect our elected representatives to overcome the pressure of the gun lobby and vote for our safety.

Obama’s executive orders are reasonable actions to take in a country that faces mass shootings so frequently. Gun control should not be such a controversy when so many people in this country have been affected by gun violence. It becomes a matter of if you want to be secure or not and whether you feel safe with people carrying around guns who couldn’t even pass a background check. Obama’s concern is to not jeopardize our safety by giving guns to  just anyone.  The concern is not that everyone should be given the opportunity to have a gun. We shouldn’t be more concerned with someone else’s “freedom” more than our own lives. People need to acknowledge that if nothing is done to fix this problem then there will be even more casualties.

Obama’s executive action is an instance where his actions clearly represent the opinion of the majority of Americans. How many Americans must die from gun violence before the majority of our law makers come together and make meaningful changes to the law to protect our safety? We are close to a tipping point. Taking measures such as background checks doesn’t ensure that we are completely safe from gun violence, but it is certainly a start and we support it.

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