Obama uses executive actions to enact gun control

The President finally revealed his package of executive actions on gun regulation. Will this begin a legislative push for gun control? Photo: Associated Press

FLORIDA, January 17, 2013 — It finally happened.

After days of anticipation, President Obama revealed a $500 million package of 23 executive actions on gun control to an anxious public. Note the word action as opposed to order. There is a difference between the two, albeit only a semantic one.

The actions were not the sort of thing that many hardline firearm rights advocates had been expecting. Rather than usurp the Constitution to bring about totalitarian rule, he changed no laws at a structural level. Indeed, the country today is still as it was the day before yesterday.

As a matter of fact, Obama’s executive actions do little more than create new standards for addressing gun violence-related issues and require that existing laws be enforced.

Such things are hardly unreasonable. In a society where mass shootings seem ever more frequent, it is politically necessary that some attention be paid to the matter. If Obama sat back and did nothing, he would be criticized to no end.

Some people who would attack him for doing nothing now claim that he is a tyrant for talking about gun control. It really is interesting how that works. 

The reality is simple: We live in a society that seems to grow more chaotic by the month. New threats to social stability seem to present themselves at every turn. Under conditions such as these, doing something to tackle the madness is imperative.

Second Amendment fundamentalists would add that this is a free country, and they have the same right to express their views as I do.

Yes, they do, but can they honestly claim that Sandy Hook happened because not enough people have access to every class of firearm in production? Is gun violence of the magnitude seen at Sandy Hook the result of gun laws that are too restrictive? These things wouldn’t happen if only more people could carry any firearms they desire, wherever and whenever they desire?

That flies in the face of what most Americans consider good logic, though gun advocates undoubtedly have a logic of their own. For the rest of us, it appears that national, state and local leaders have the duty to take preventative action. They can at least try to reduce the likelihood of another Sandy Hook. 

Is this really much to ask of our public officeholders? 

Obama took a small step to curb the likelihood of firearms falling into the wrong hands. Gun control advocates would probably characterize it as the tiniest step he could possibly take. If it moves us in the direction of Congressional and state action on gun control, his presidency will be remembered for it, and probably more favorably than gun advocates want to admit. 

Let us hope that others — whether they might serve in Congress or on a county commission — will rise to his level of leadership.

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Joseph Cotto

Joseph F. Cotto is a social journalist by trade and student of history by lifestyle choice. He hails from central Florida, writing about political, economic, and social issues of the day. In the past, he was a contributor to Blogcritics Magazine, among other publications. He is currently at work on a book about American society.

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