Obama faced a mournful crowd once again during his presidency, discussing the latest in mass shootings at the Marine Corps Barracks. Once again, he called for an end to the violence in this country, an end to the politics surrounding the nation’s gun laws and a halt to the views that gun violence is just the “new normal.”
President Obama began to name other mass shootings in the past few years; Fort Hood. Tucson, Aurora and Sandy Hook. The Washington Navy Yard is the latest addition, where a mentally disturbed Navy Reservist shot and killed 12 people last week.
Obama spoke to the Congressional Black Caucus, determined to take on the gun laws with more vigor than before. The president reported the U.S. has more homicides and violent crime than any other nation on Earth.
Lawmakers pushed for extensive background checks, especially for guns sold at flea markets and gun shows due to non-existent checks now. The reinstatement of the assault weapons ban should have been put in place after 20 elementary children were shot and killed in Newtown, Connecticut. Over 80% were behind the ban of assault weapons during this time. A mostly Republican Congress killed the legislation.
Obama spoke about not giving up and working to make the gun laws a reality:
We can’t accept this at the ballot box because Congress can’t or won’t. As Americans bound in grief and love, we must insist here today there is nothing normal about innocent men and women being gunned down where they work. There is nothing normal about our children being gunned down in their classrooms. There is nothing normal about children dying in our streets from stray bullets.
The lack of support for better gun laws by Congress was an embarrassing and disappointing day in the history of the United States. Examining the problem isn't enough. Laws have to be implemented before change will happen.
Our tears are not enough. Our words and our prayers not enough. If we really want to honor these 12 men and women, if we really want to be a country where we can go to work and go to school and walk our streets free from senseless violence, without so many lives being stolen by a bullet from a gun, then we’re going to have to change. We’re going to have to change.
District Mayor Vincent spoke at the memorial prior to the president’s speech:
This time it happened within the view of our Capitol Dome. And I, for one, will not be silent about the fact that the time has come for action.
The president is aware that the majority of gun owners are responsible and law-abiding. Most use their guns safely. Obama also believes that the Second Amendment gives Americans the right to bear arms. On the other end of the spectrum, we need to better protect our children and communities from tragic mass shootings. The president and others know there are four steps that revolve around commons sense ideas to help cut down on these shootings right now.
- The first step would be to close background check loopholes to keep more guns out of the hands of criminals and those who are mentally ill.
- The banning of all military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines would reduce the high-mass shootings, along with the installment of other protective steps.
- Work on making our schools safer with better protective measures and taking steps to improve security.
- The fourth common-sense step that can be implemented right away is to increase the availability of mental health services.
Those involved with the gun safety laws in this country are well aware that no one law or set of laws will completely end gun violence. It is, however, very clear that Americans want action taken to stop the majority of mass shootings in this country. If a child’s life can be saved, even one, then it is well worth the effort.
As Americans, we have to know that it's time for a civil conclusion to the violence in this country. Putting our children's safety first is a must. Putting aside the defensiveness, the idea that since it's the president's idea, it can't be good and the thought that they will come and take away your hunting rifle simply isn't going to solve the issue. It's not a matter of Republican vs. Democrats. It's communities and mentally unstable gun owners. It's parents vs. criminals who partake in drive by shootings in the streets of our country. It's parents, teachers and human beings vs. those who enter our schools and gun down our children. It's time to take action.