Gun control conversation hit a all time high last year after the Aurora movie theatre shootings, but like most intriguing media news today, the talk seemed to die down within months. Recently however, the Sandy Hook shooting has sent the gun control to a higher level than we, as American citizens, could ever imagine.
The Obama administration essentially used this tragic event as a gateway event to take executive orders on gun control. As this article states, “President Obama will propose an assault weapons ban and better background checks for gun buyers on Wednesday as part of a package of proposals to curb gun violence once month after the Newtown massacre.” On January 16th, 2013, Obama announced 23 executive orders on gun control. Among the more controversial orders were the ban on “military-style” guns, and large magazines. Though a stronger background check was by far least provocative proposal. His actions show clearly his Presidential Powers according to the constitution; Article 2 Section 1 Clause 1 states, “The executive Power shall be vested in President of the United States of America.”
Obviously, Obama’s actions have heated the gun control debate. Gun enthusiasts are livid. They are completely against this executive order, and they are nervous that this proposal will be passed. This is seen evident by the fact that assault rifles are selling out everywhere. On Cheaper Than Dirt, the countries largest online gun distributer, every single type of assault rifle in sold out. Gun lobbyists, such as the NRA (National Rifle Association) have decided to act out against the current administration. They argue that the second amendment specifically states that the citizens of the United States have the right to bear arms, and banning assault rifles is unconstitutional. As the NRA has recently released a new proposal against gun control, they state that Obama has as well recently proposed that every person that buy a gun must register that gun with the federal government, as well as any guns previously owned. The NRA and other gun lobbyist argue that this too is unconstitutional and a complete violation of the right to privacy and the right to protect one’s self (Amendment 4). The right to bear arms and the right to protect oneself were written in order to protect yourself against an over powerful government, and it says a lot that the Obama administration is trying to constrain this right.
On the other hand, pro gun control advocates argue that a band on assault rifles is necessary to protect this country. They argue that how could you neglect the recent shootings (Aurora and Newtown), and not do anything? These advocates defend their stance by claiming that it is our country’s leader’s jobs to protect American, and President Obama would not be carrying out his duties as President if he did not act on these incidents. Supporters debate that it is more important to protect the people of America than protect the gun industry. The 14th Amendment describes each individual’s equal protection. Just as the pro-gun advocates say that the government is violating their right to bear arms, the pro-gun control advocates argue that the government is violating the constitutional right of American citizens by neglecting to protect them.
So who is right?
While both sides have strong supporting arguments, I personally believe that the gun lobbyists, such as the NRA, are fighting an unwinnable battle. Unfortunately for them, it is almost impossible to ignore the facts of these horrible accidents. While long-term plans may be underway to prevent such incidents such as mental health awareness, a ban on assault rifles is a short-term solution that seems inevitable. As New York has already passed new gun laws, it looks as if a nationwide ban on assault rifles will soon be proceeding.