Why President Obama Lacks Creditability on Gun Control

President Obama made a barn-raising speech on April 8, 2013 in Connecticut about the need to pass the gun control measures he proposed after the mass shooting of five-and six-year olds in Newtown, Connecticut. Obama’s conversion into a gun control advocate has come realtively late in his political career, as he didn’t propose any gun control measures in his 2008 campaign for the presidency and his only promise to do something about the matter came in the wake of the shooting in a Tucson, Arizona shopping mall, resulting in six deaths and the severe impairment of Representative Gabby Giffords. Obama said he would take action and then forgot about it through the remainder of his first term.

Mass shootings and high levels of gun violence have been constants in the U.S. for many years, yet President Obama has not used his bully pulpit to educate the public about the nature of the gun problem, nor what should be done about it. His Johnny-come-lately appearance on the gun control scene weakens his ability to get anything concrete done.

What Obama is proposing will have limited impact on the overall firearms violence problem, since most acts of firearms violence are not committed by those diagnosed with mental illnesses related to violent acts, nor are they committed by ex-felons. Background checks, limits on the size of ammunition clips and a ban on assault rifles may limit the carnage from mass shootings, but these actions will probably not have a significant effect on the less sensational shootngs that occur on a daily basis.

The failed Senate bill on background checks did not include sales between individuals, so, even if the gun show loophole were closed, what would prevent two individuals who met at a gun show from going out to the parking lot, or elsewhere, to complete a firearms sale first discussed on the gun show premises? Furthermore, the Brady law has shown that reporting of mental illnesses tends to be very sketchy.

Regarding an assault rifle ban, although Senator Diane Feinstein’s bill closes some loopholes in the prior ban, she admits that well over a thousand types of firearms would not be affected by her proposed ban.

I believe the Senate bill would have banned ammunition clips holding more than ten shells. Why not ban clips holding four or more shells. as it is hard to imagine a situation in which more shells would be needed?

President Obama’s proposals and Senator Feinstein’s assault weapons ban are directed mostly at longguns; however, the handgun is, by far, the most deadly instrument of firearms violence. Banning the manufacture and importation of handguns and handgun parts, coupled with a buyback program, which pays a premium over the retail price for a weapon turned in the first year of the buyback period, then lowers the payback for each year the turnin is delayed, should lower the handgun inventory. For someone found to have a handgun after the end of the five- to ten-year buyback period, a stiff fine — maybe $2,000 to $3,000 — would be levied.

The same type of program could be instituted for semi-automatic rifles. Hunters could enjoy their sport with one- or two-barrel shotguns and bolt-action rifles, in which the bolt must be worked to eject and load a new shell.

A limited type of manufacture would be allowed for law enforcement and military purposes.


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