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Obama Offers Tears and Executive Orders for Gun Control
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Summary: President Barack Obama offers emotional speech amid executive orders to improve gun control.

President Barack Obama’s heartfelt declamation of gun violence may have had a stronger emotional effect than legal effect, critics are claiming. While streaming tears and choking up over 2012’s Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, he said, “First graders….Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad.”


His compassion for gun violence victims coupled his executive orders to increase regulation of gun sales.

“In this room right here, there are a lot of stories. There’s a lot of heartache. There’s a lot of resilience, there’s a lot of strength, but there’s also a lot of pain.”

The executive orders he has resorted to have been called modest enough. Mostly they suggest “guidance” for federal agencies, and do not instantiate new regulations. They clarify existing laws.

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“Each time this comes up,” Obama said, “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. 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.”

The rhetorical effect is to admit that these executive orders are unrelated to the heart-wrenching massacres that have polarized the media over gun rights and gun control debates. Nevertheless, he presents it as some sort of response, that something, at least is being done.

Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, tweeted, “President wiping tears. So am I. One of the most moving things I’ve ever seen.”

Even supporters of the new plan admit that it would affect only thousands of gun sales. As 21 million gun sales were processed through background check systems in 2014, with 40 percent more, perhaps, not being subjected to background checks through private transactions, executive orders effecting only a few thousand may amount more to a gesture than an action.

“The American people do not need more emotional, condescending lectures that are completely devoid of facts,” said National Rifle Association’s top lobbyist, Chris W. Cox.

Responses from republican candidates were likewise predictably dismissive, with Rep. Paul Ryan saying Obama’s “words and actions amount to a form of intimidation that undermines liberty.”

The executive order, modest as it is, has been carefully vetted to avoid being taken apart by a Republican-controlled Congress.

“If Congress doesn’t allow legislation, I think he went as far as he could using the bully pulpit,” Chuck Wexler, the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum in Washington, said.

Source: NYTimes

Photo credit: The White House YouTube Channel


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