President Barack Obama shocked the American people in early January when his powerful speech for stronger gun control left him in tears. Obama spoke of examples of mass gun violence and the daily gang action on the streets of American cities. A mention of Chicago, Obama’s home town, left him in tears and the nation in awe. Breaking down barriers of what society dictates as “normal” behavior for a president, his emotional speech was the topic of mass interest across any and all news stations. He spoke of his wants to strengthen control on background checks for those attempting to buy a gun, saying that “If we can set it up so you can’t unlock your phone unless you’ve got the right fingerprint, why can’t we do the same thing for our guns?” He wanted to protect communities like Chicago, with a history of gun violence, from further destruction.
The NRA was far from quiet about this, heading to social media to express disgust with Obama’s terms. Some students also believed that cracking down on gun use isn’t the answer, with junior Jordan Bieden- Charles, saying “I think the right to bear arms should be given to Americans, and that guns are not inherently bad. Gun ranges are some of the safest places on earth, and guns should be allowed to be used for sport and safe uses.”
Another focus of the speech was to put more emphasis on mental health background checks before allowing someone to buy a gun. Focusing even further on mental health, he proposed a budget of $500 million to be put towards mental health treatments.
Obama faced plenty of objections to these statements, for many believed it was too much of an executive action for him to perform. His rebuttal to this claim was the position the republicans have put him in when it comes to this issue—claiming that their refusal to compromise has left him with no choice. One point that many democrats made in order to defend Obama was that his use of executive powers was far less than previous presidents, namely Bush.
Otherwise moderate voters have also lost faith in the Obama administration, and the democratic party as a whole, as their right to own guns is threatened. Others point out that this “threat” by the president only causes owners of guns to want to rush out and buy more while they still can. However, the overall meaning of his movements to fight gun lobbyists spells out more difficulty in the future for gun owners to purchase firearms, and an overall wave of change for the future of guns in America. Kassidy Gambelin, a junior, hopes that “ the future of guns in America includes more control and background checks. I also think there needs to be more regulation for minors with arms.”
By: Serena Mendoza