While Americans prepare to celebrate the life and legacy of assassinated civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr., and the second Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama, a controversial event taking place this weekend has many people across the country up in "arms" and "fired" up!
Gun Appreciation Day 2013
Jan. 19, 2013, is Gun Appreciation Day, an event that encourages gun activists across America to rally their support for their right to bear arms. According to the website,
"On 01.19.13 go to your local gun store, gun range or gun show with your Constitution, American flags and your 'Hands off my Guns' sign to send a loud and clear message to Congress and President Obama."
In a televised interview with MSNBC, Larry Ward, the Chairman of Gun Appreciation Day, said the event is a response to gun control law proposals introduced by the new Congress. According to the website, "Obama, Feinstein and the rest gun grabbing opportuniists [sic] are dead set on passing Gun Control Legislation this Month."
While sponsors of the event include What Bubba Knows, Wake Up America, Zombie Tactical, Tea Party Nation, and Trigger Happy Guns and Ammo LLC, the National Rifle Association is not a listed sponsor of the event. Flyers and an online petition to defend gun rights are also available on the site.
In response to the event, United for Change USA has launched a petition to stop Gun Appreciation Day. With a goal of 40,000 signatures, more than 30,000 people have currently signed the online petition.
Sandy Hook Elementary School Tragedy
One month after a gunman slaughtered 20 young children and six adults in the horrific Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, CT., the gun control debate continues to heat up across the country.
In an interview with NBC News, Newtown's Police Chief Michael Kehoe urged the White House to "ban assault weapons, restrict those magazines that have so many bullets in them, shore up any loopholes in our criminal background checks.” Kehoe said the shooter at Sandy Hook had more firepower than his police force.
Obama Announces Bold Gun Control Recommendations
In response to the shooting, President Obama set up a federal gun task force spearheaded by Vice President Joe Biden. After meeting with representatives from various organizations, Biden made his recommendations to the president on Tuesday and on Wednesday, President Obama unveiled his recommendations to reduce gun violence across the nation.
Just a few highlights of Obama's sweeping gun proposals include:
- Universal criminal background checks on all gun sales
- Reinstating and strengthening the assault weapon ban
- Limiting gun magazines to 10 rounds
- Banning possessing and transfering of armor-piercing bullets except by law enforcement and military personnel
- Keeping 15,000 police on the job
- Providing training to officers, first responders and school officials for active shooter situations
- Adding additional school resource officers and counselors in schools
- Ending the freeze on gun violence research
- Launching national responsible gun ownership campaign
- Increasing access to mental health services
Also this week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the toughest and most comprehensive gun laws in the nation. Despite the backlash from the National Rifle Association, other states are considering new gun regulations as well. Enough is enough!