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Obama Executive Action on Gun Control


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(CNN)President Barack Obama grew emotional Tuesday as he made a passionate call for a national "sense of urgency" to limit gun violence.

He was introduced by Mark Barden, whose son Daniel was killed in the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Obama circled back to that shooting in the final moments of his speech.

"Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad," Obama said, pausing to wipe away tears.

He added: "And by the way, it happens on the streets of Chicago every day," referring to his hometown where he began his political career.

The White House is seeking to expand background checks for buyers. The measure clarifies that individuals "in the business of selling firearms" register as licensed gun dealers, effectively narrowing the so-called "gun show loophole," which exempts most small sellers from keeping formal sales records.

Former Congresswoman and gun control advocate Gabby Giffords, who was seriously injured in a 2011 mass shooting, was also in attendance at Tuesday's event and was greeted with a standing ovation from the White House audience.

Obama hammered congressional Republicans for opposing measures like expanded background checks as he called on Americans to punish them at the polls. He defended his actions to strengthen background checks for purchasing guns, answering critics who say the measure would not make it harder for criminals to obtain firearms.

"Each time this comes up, we are fed the excuse that common-sense reforms like background checks might not have stopped the last massacre, or the one before that, or the one before that, so why bother trying," Obama said. "I reject that thinking."

"We know we can't stop every act of violence, every act of evil in the world. But maybe we could try to stop one act of evil, one act of violence," he added.

The President blasted the gun lobby, particularly the National Rifle Association, and insisted that his actions are "not a plot to take away everybody's guns."

He compared his push for gun control to steps the United States and businesses have taken to limit traffic fatalities, require fingerprints to unlock iPads and keep children from opening bottles of aspirin.

"I believe in the Second Amendment, there written on paper, that guarantees the right to bear arms," Obama said. "No matter how many times people try to twist my words around, I taught constitutional law. I know a little bit about this. But I also believe that we can find ways to reduce gun violence consistent with the Second Amendment."

Obama said Congress, which blocked a tougher gun bill in 2013, still needs to impose new gun control measures. He noted that many of the actions he's calling for can only be imposed through legislative action.

"Congress still needs to act," Obama said. "The folks in this room will not rest until Congress does. Because once Congress gets on board with common-sense gun safety measures, we can reduce gun violence a whole lot."

"But we also can't wait," Obama added. "Until we have the Congress that's in line with the majority of Americans, there are actions within my legal authority that we can take to help reduce gun violence and save more lives."

In addition to expanding and bolstering the background check system to cover sales that take place online and at gun shows, Obama said the administration will provide more funding for mental health treatment, FBI staff and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives agents.

On Capitol Hill, the reaction from Republicans was just as Obama had predicted.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, said Obama's actions "will no doubt be challenged in the courts" and "can be overturned by a Republican President."

"From day one, the President has never respected the right to safe and legal gun ownership that our nation has valued since its founding," Ryan said in a statement. "He knows full well that the law already says that people who make their living selling firearms must be licensed, regardless of venue. Still, rather than focus on criminals and terrorists, he goes after the most law-abiding of citizens. His words and actions amount to a form of intimidation that undermines liberty."

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, vowed in New Hampshire on Tuesday that she will "take on that fight" and continue Obama's gun control push if she's elected.

On Twitter, in a tweet signed "-H" to indicate it was written by Clinton, rather than her staff, the former secretary of state thanked Obama "for taking a crucial step forward on gun violence. Our next President has to build on that progress—not rip it away."

And her campaign highlighted Republican candidates' criticism of Obama's comments on its website, warning that a GOP president would undo Obama's actions.

Many polls have found broad support for expanded background checks -- the most recent being a Quinnipiac University poll in December. In that survey, 89% overall support it, 84% in gun-owning households, 87% of Republicans, 86% of independent, 95% of Democrats.

In a December CNN/ORC poll, 48% of Americans said they were in favor of stricter gun control laws, 51% were opposed.

Support for stricter laws has been less than half since 2013. There's a sharp partisan divide on the question, with 74% of Democrats in favor of stricter laws, while just 23% of Republicans feel the same way.

Among those who live in a gun-owning household, 29% favor stricter laws, that rises to 65% among those who live in households where no one owns a gun.

Just 35% approve of Obama's handling of gun policy, including 56% of Democrats and 55% of liberals. That's well below his approval rating among Democrats/liberals for other top issue.

 

http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/05/politics/obama-executive-action-gun-control/

 

Currently, underage americans, americans with serious criminal backgrounds, and those with mental health issues should not be able to purchase a gun.  A background check is supposed to clear gun purchasers, if they fail the check, they cannot legally purchase a gun.

But the system is full of loopholes, mainly the "gun show", or private sale loophole, where a private seller can meet with someone at a show or over the internet and sell them a gun with no background check.

The other problem is that the feds are understaffed, so often guns are purchased before the background check is completed.  Different states also have their own views on gun laws, so depending on the state, (ahem, the southern ones), the odds of a criminal nutcase getting their hands on a gun increases by quite a bit.

Obama's executive actions don't close all the loopholes, but they're designed to make the existing laws more enforceable.

 

The gun laws that Obama wants:

- Narrow who can sell guns without a federal licence.  (Doesn't include collectors, or within-family or friend sales)

- Hire more fbi to conduct existing background checks

- Require background checks for those trying to buy restricted firearms through a legal entity, such as a corporation or trust.  This was a way to avoid background checks in the past.

- Ensure mental health records will make it into the background check process.  Privacy issues were a concern there.

- Enforcing tighter rules on the reporting of lost or stolen guns, in particular when they go missing before they are shipped to a buyer.  Make it easier for law enforcement to track lost guns.

- Increase gun safety by investing in gun research and technology, mainly towards preventing accidents

 

The laws are just common sense, (keeping guns away from psychotic criminals, increase gun safety, enforce already-existing laws) but Obama's problem of course is that the gun issue is highly politicized down party and state lines, and no matter what he unilaterally does to address the issue when congress won't will be viewed as traitorous and unpatriotic to a lot of red americans.

Here's some politifact on some gun-related statements:

http://www.politifact.com/subjects/guns/

Some wild statements by Ben Carson are always entertaining, but this statement was also proven true:

guns%2Bvs%2Bterrorism.jpg

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No wonder the Blackhawks keep on winning. Obama's hometown is Chicago. 

This should have been done a long time ago. But good for Obama for finally taking action (well intent to take action). The previous 43 Presidents had no idea what they were doing regarding gun control. 

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I second that this is the right step for the country. How delusional do you have to be to accept that the status quo is working?

There's too many firearm accidents and firearm violence to justify that their system is working.

If people knew how to handle firearms properly (proper training), there shouldn't be accidental discharges like the countless ones that we've read last year. Furthermore, at least half of the incidents involving firearms have been legally purchased.

Some form of gun control is necessary.  It's absolutely ridiculous that it's been turned into a political issue and not a societal one.

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Big waste of time because back ground checks will only catch people who has criminal records or have a history of mental illness.

The background tests would not have caught the terrorists last month since they had no criminal records or a history of mental illness.

The horse is really out of the barn in the US as there are more guns than people there.   The only way to stop gun violence is go the route of China.   A complete ban on guns. 

 

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2 hours ago, DonLever said:

Big waste of time because back ground checks will only catch people who has criminal records or have a history of mental illness.

The background tests would not have caught the terrorists last month since they had no criminal records or a history of mental illness.

The horse is really out of the barn in the US as there are more guns than people there.   The only way to stop gun violence is go the route of China.   A complete ban on guns. 

 

 

So because it won't fix a complex issue in its entirety, there's no point in doing it? There's no point in not doing it. Creating more roadblocks will inevitably cause less people to own guns, which will inevitably saved lives on some level.  

I'm not sure why any responsible gun owner, who can still own and purchase guns, would have a problem with something as simple as this.

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2 hours ago, DonLever said:

Big waste of time because back ground checks will only catch people who has criminal records or have a history of mental illness.

The background tests would not have caught the terrorists last month since they had no criminal records or a history of mental illness.

The horse is really out of the barn in the US as there are more guns than people there.   The only way to stop gun violence is go the route of China.   A complete ban on guns. 

 

But they might have caught some of the nutjobs who have staged the 300+ other mass shootings in the US last year...

I suppose this is one good thing about an outgoing POTUS on his second term. You can go ahead and do what's tight and not worry if it will affect your chances for re-election.

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Sounds like there will still be loopholes, but if there's a chance of being one less inbred hick jailbird getting his hands on a gun, yay. 

For all those paranoid whites who think thir cummin to take der gunz, this is mostly going to be keeping guns away from the mexicans and blacks, once the laws trickle down to state and county levels.  As usual.

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It’s physically impossible to remove all firearms from a country.  Even if you legally ban firearms, it’s not going to prevent the import firearms from coming in to the country.  It’s been said before but firearms are not what causes people to murder.  Motive, mental health, and a variety of other conditions are causes for murder,  a firearm being accessible is not and has not ever been a “cause” for premeditated murder.  For some reason people get the idea that removing firearms removes murders, when the two really don’t correlate with each other. 

Air nail guns are easily accessible to purchase and they make building a home much faster and easier, they are a tool.  The motive for me to build a house really has nothing to do with whether an air nail gun is easily accessible or not, at the end of the day I still need a place to live.

Even today Canadian crime statistics show that handguns are used in 80% of all firearm robberies.  Handguns were also used in the majority (62%) of firearm-related homicides in 2012.  In Canada it is not an easy process to get your hands on a handgun.  Handguns are considered a Restricted Firearm, thus in order to legally purchase a handgun or it’s ammunition, you need to fire take your PAL, and Restricted Licences. 

Once you pass, there are still an number of hurdles that you need to go through in order to buy a Restricted Firearm.  They check your criminals and mental records, even call your exes and ask them personal question about past conversations.  If at all they feel you are not up to their standard then you are not rewarded with your restricted licence

After you past those checks you then will need to become a member of a gov’t registered gun club.

When attempting to purchase, the retail store will verify your licence and contact the gun club to insure the you are in fact a member

Once purchased, the only place you are legally allowed to fire this Restricted Firearm, is in the protected environment at the gun club.

When traveling with a restricted Firearm you need to notify the gun club and provide exact route to and from your destination.  (if you are found on a different route without permission from your gun club, You will lose your licences and your firearm)

Despite being the least numerous but most heavily regulated firearm in Canada, since 1991 the number of handgun homicides has exceeded the total number of rifle and shotgun homicides.

Now if we go back to the statistics about homicide and armed robbery rates, In 2012, about half (46%) of all homicides committed with a firearm were gang-related. Three-quarters (75%) of gang-related homicides involving firearms were committed with the use of a handgun, with fully automatic firearms (10%) the next most frequently used type of firearm in gang-related homicides.  At least three-quarters of all murderers, and nearly one-half of their victims, have prior criminal records, therefor are not permissible of legally purchasing a restricted firearm.  These criminals aren’t following the legalities when purchasing a firearm yet they are somehow getting their hands on these weapons?  Surprise, surprise the majority of the handguns used in homicides are not registered handguns.  I wonder why that would be.

Is there benefits to gun control?  Sure and you can debate that since Canada has implemented gun control laws our homicide rate (Including murders without the use of firearms) has gone down.  But to think banning guns is the answer to solving firearm violence is just a untrue and not very well thought out statement.

Take the latest murders in Cali for instance.   Can anyone really say that if firearms were illegal that these shootings wouldn’t have happened? Or even the attacks in Paris, do terrorist just decide terrorism is too hard because of new gun controls, so they give it up decide to be honourable citizens?

I think the biggest fear in gun control is where will it stop.   When shootings continue to happen even after the implements controls, what’s the next step,  more controls, more restrictions, a banning of all firearms. 

personally I’m ok with the controls we have in Canada (somewhat, stupid how they decide what is considered restricted vs non restricted).  As all my firearms are purchased to harvest animals, remove varmints, sport shooting, and in the worst case, they can be self-defence for my property.  The current Canadian controls still allow me that. 

Basically what my point is, I’m fine with a bit of gun controls, but using the shootings and acting like these new controls are the answer is just dumb.  They are taking advantage of situations and using them to promote their own motive, very similar to what USA did with Alberta Oil.  All it is doing is drawing the line and putting people against each other.  Guns vs no guns.

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3 hours ago, DonLever said:

Big waste of time because back ground checks will only catch people who has criminal records or have a history of mental illness.

The background tests would not have caught the terrorists last month since they had no criminal records or a history of mental illness.

The horse is really out of the barn in the US as there are more guns than people there.   The only way to stop gun violence is go the route of China.   A complete ban on guns. 

 

Catching people with criminal records and a history of mental illness sounds like a good idea to me.

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1 hour ago, chilliwiggins said:

touchy subject of course, but one must be careful as to whose truth you believe.     5 of 6 gun related crimes in the states are illegal weapons.    

Canada tried this for years and collected huge amounts of data on legally obtained weapons, it cost the average tax payers millions and millions of dollars and never changed the gun related crimes one bit, so we eventually nixed the whole idea. 

In Canada it was initiated under similar circumstances at the Polytechnique  university, which was a terribly trajic event. 

To me the bigger problems here are the obvious , of which is poverty and the services for people with mental health issues that no longer exist in the US and in Canada.

Remember when they locked the doors at Riverview in New Westminster.     Those people ended up down on Main and Hastings causing all sorts of problems for everyone in the area including themselves.    Not addressing the issues behind the violence is the problem and the governments of North America will always point at the guns as the problem , where the truth be known ,is they failed to address the real problems by having services for the mentally ill.   That's my 2 bits worth.

From what I've seen pro-gun people (Republicans) seem to be the most against providing services for the poor and mentally ill.

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6 minutes ago, chilliwiggins said:

Your wrong about your statement regarding handgun regulations in Canada. I have 1 licence and 1 permit that gives me the right to carry a handgun in the bush both of which have nothing to do with each other.  I am not a member of a gun club and have never had to contact one regarding my right to carry my handgun.   Yes I do have to possess a restricted as well which I also carry

   

Did you purchase that hand gun or get it passed down from family?

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2 hours ago, TOMapleLaughs said:

Sounds like there will still be loopholes, but if there's a chance of being one less inbred hick jailbird getting his hands on a gun, yay. 

But at what cost?  Aside from the financial cost of every well-meaning but poorly conceived government program, what if this law leads to 2 or more innocent people being unable to protect themselves from someone else?  Are you willing to trade two lives for one?

BTW, I heard that his plan includes preventing gun sales to seniors who have a legal proxy to deal with their finances (or something along those lines).  I am curious to know how many killers fit that demographic.  I get what he is aiming for, but before doing this, there should be a direct correlation shown between financial competence and mental competence.

There have been over 225 million background checks regarding gun purchases since 1998, with over 99% of them approved.  I suspect this is because people who know they wouldn't pass the check won't try to get a gun legally.  Expanding this policy to gun shows (which already have checks in some states) and online sales won't make much difference, unless someone can show that the majority of the horrible events Obama is referencing involved guns that came from these sources.  Those channels don't seem to account for many sales.  Note: at this point I don't have an issue with having the checks done in these instances, I just question the effectiveness of expanding that program.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/01/05/where-america-gets-its-guns-and-how-easily/

Obama keeps asking for "common sense gun control."  The problem is that he only considers his view as common sense. Like the rest of his policies, he appears to ignore everyone else, and demands what he thinks is best. And if you don't agree with him, you are a bad person.  It would sure be nice to see how many of the 280K deaths would have been prevented by this new legislation.  Assuming an earlier post is correct, and 5 out of every 6 are done with illegally acquired guns, wouldn't common sense dictate doing something about the five rather than a subset of the remaining one???

If only he would do more to improve society in general (no particular order, and not a complete list): 1. support and promote families, 2. work with the states to restore quality education, 3. get people working again, in full-time meaningful jobs.  Yet, I don't believe he has done anything to successfully advance any of these issues, and in many instances he made things worse.  Gun violence is a symptom of a bigger problem.  It's not the disease.

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Just now, Kragar said:

But at what cost?  Aside from the financial cost of every well-meaning but poorly conceived government program, what if this law leads to 2 or more innocent people being unable to protect themselves from someone else?  Are you willing to trade two lives for one?

BTW, I heard that his plan includes preventing gun sales to seniors who have a legal proxy to deal with their finances (or something along those lines).  I am curious to know how many killers fit that demographic.  I get what he is aiming for, but before doing this, there should be a direct correlation shown between financial competence and mental competence.

There have been over 225 million background checks regarding gun purchases since 1998, with over 99% of them approved.  I suspect this is because people who know they wouldn't pass the check won't try to get a gun legally.  Expanding this policy to gun shows (which already have checks in some states) and online sales won't make much difference, unless someone can show that the majority of the horrible events Obama is referencing involved guns that came from these sources.  Those channels don't seem to account for many sales.  Note: at this point I don't have an issue with having the checks done in these instances, I just question the effectiveness of expanding that program.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/01/05/where-america-gets-its-guns-and-how-easily/

Obama keeps asking for "common sense gun control."  The problem is that he only considers his view as common sense. Like the rest of his policies, he appears to ignore everyone else, and demands what he thinks is best. And if you don't agree with him, you are a bad person.  It would sure be nice to see how many of the 280K deaths would have been prevented by this new legislation.  Assuming an earlier post is correct, and 5 out of every 6 are done with illegally acquired guns, wouldn't common sense dictate doing something about the five rather than a subset of the remaining one???

If only he would do more to improve society in general (no particular order, and not a complete list): 1. support and promote families, 2. work with the states to restore quality education, 3. get people working again, in full-time meaningful jobs.  Yet, I don't believe he has done anything to successfully advance any of these issues, and in many instances he made things worse.  Gun violence is a symptom of a bigger problem.  It's not the disease.

I would consider innocent people those to be cleared of the background check.  Once cleared, they can protect themselves.  So where's the issue?

Are you seriously worried about financial cost though?  Because it will be pennies compared to the potential losses in litigation caused by gun violence.

The problem is that loopholes will remain, so criminals and those with mental problems will still be able to get a gun.

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8 minutes ago, TOMapleLaughs said:

I would consider innocent people those to be cleared of the background check.  Once cleared, they can protect themselves.  So where's the issue?

Are you seriously worried about financial cost though?  Because it will be pennies compared to the potential losses in litigation caused by gun violence.

The problem is that loopholes will remain, so criminals and those with mental problems will still be able to get a gun.

There's more to his plan than background checks.  I agree with you that instances where passing a check regarding criminal background and mental health (assuming that can be properly defined... there is some contention there), those people are able to protect themselves.  But other cases, like the seniors one I mentioned, will prevent otherwise innocent people from getting a gun they should be able to get.  And the more government controls things, the less likely legitimate people will be able to get guns.

Depends on the cost, and the benefits.  For example, if the government spends an additional billion over its current measures, and we experience a fraction of a percent improvement, yes, I would worry about the cost.  My main point above was to use some common sense, and focus on the real problems.  A better economy, with less people unemployed, and kids growing up with two parents, will lead to less gangs, increased respect for the people around you, and less people picking up drugs, alcohol and guns and destroying lives, having a significantly greater impact on reducing gun deaths than the policies he pursues.

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