President Barack Obama has proposed an executive order to impose stronger laws involving background checks on the purchase of firearms. However, he has yet to demonstrate in any meaningful way how his executive order will make it any more difficult for criminals to obtain firearms.
States have always been allowed to make their own laws and regulations to prevent gun violence. The Federal government also has laws regarding the illegal use of firearms.
These are the laws that need to be enforced. Instead, federal prosecution of these laws has fallen by 42 percent under the Obama administration, according to The Washington Times.
Creating new laws that, by his own admission, won’t stop criminals from obtaining firearms, is not the answer.
In a town hall event broadcast Jan. 7, Obama attempted to defend his executive action by answering questions from various members of the audience.
“We want to think that we can make a law and people will follow it. By the very nature of their crime, they’re not following it. By the very nature of looking at the people who hurt our loved ones here, I don’t know that any of them would have been stopped by the background check,” said Taya Kyle, the widow of “American Sniper” Chris Kyle, to the president during the town hall.
Read the dissenting editor’s opinion here.
The president responded by agreeing that more background checks will not necessarily stop criminals from obtaining firearms.
“Somebody may lie on a form,” Obama said. “Somebody will intend to commit a crime, but they don’t have a record that shows up on the background check system.”
In response to other’s questions, Obama continued to reaffirm that his executive action will not necessarily impede criminals from obtaining firearms.
If it does not hinder criminals, who does it hinder? Apparently no one. Or is it everyone? Obama seemed to have trouble keeping that answer straight.
Kimberly Corban, a survivor of rape and mother of two who was also in attendance, said she refuses to be a victim again, and feels the need to be able to protect herself and her children.
“So why can’t your administration see that these restrictions that you’re putting to make it harder for me to own a gun, or harder for me to take that where I need to be is actually just making my kids and I less safe?” Corban said.
Obama did not hesitate to reassure her that his executive action would not make it harder for her to purchase a firearm.
“I just want to repeat that there’s nothing that we’ve proposed that would make it harder for you to purchase a firearm,” Obama said.
However, that answer seems to conflict with the answer he gave Cleo Pendleton, a Chicago native, directly after responding to Corban’s question.
“How can we stop the trafficking of guns from states with looser gun laws into states with tougher gun laws?” Pendleton asked. “Because I believe that’s the case, you know, often in Chicago, and possibly the source of the gun that shot and murdered my daughter.”
Obama’s initial response left something to be desired, by simply reaffirming his support of more background checks. Obama then went on to contradict what he said to Corban.
“What will at least be consistent across the country is that it’s a little bit harder to get a gun,” he said. “For example, it may be a little more difficult and a little more expensive. And, you know, the laws of supply and demand mean that if something’s harder to get, and it’s a little more expensive to get, then fewer people get them.”
How can we be expected to trust that his executive action will have any meaningful effect on gun violence when he can’t adequately explain how it is supposed to do that?
Looking at some of the claims he has made about the executive action further proves it is current laws that need to actually be enforced.
The president claims criminals can simply buy any gun they want over the Internet. The problem is that no matter if a firearm is purchased over the Internet and shipped to a different state or purchased at a gun show, it is required that a federally licensed dealer be involved in the transaction with the necessary background check, according to the AP.
The president also claims that firearms dealers will now be required to report lost or stolen guns in a timely manner. That, in fact, is already the law, according to the AP.
The president has complained that terror suspects cannot get on a plane but can still buy a firearm.
“Even after San Bernardino, they’ve (Congress) refused to make it harder for terror suspects who can’t get on a plane to buy semi-automatic weapons,” Obama said.
While barring terror suspects from buying firearms seems like a reasonable request, the problem is that the president is referring to those on the no-fly list.
Those on the list are not charged before any court of law and can be put on that list by any government agency for any reason without due process, thus they still retain their right to bear arms under the Second Amendment.
The president’s statements on his proposed executive action prove that we need to actually enforce existing laws, rather than submit to new executive orders.
Scroll Editorial: Approved by a 23-5 vote of the Scroll Editorial board.