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Right Change: President Obama’s Misdirected Solution

Last week, President Obama announced aggressive new legislation to tighten regulations on gun ownership. These plans are coupled with nearly two-dozen executive actions already signed by the President. This move was sparked by the recent tragedy in Newtown, CT, where shooter Adam Lanza killed 26 students and faculty at Sandy Hook Elementary School using three weapons: a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle, a Glock 10 mm handgun and a Sig Sauer 9 mm handgun. The former is the civilian version of a military-grade semiautomatic gun capable of shooting 45 rounds per minute. 

Some of President Obama’s plans seem like reasonable solutions like background checks to what has proven to be an epidemic of shooting after senseless shooting, not to mention a nation of devastated and panicked citizens crying for an answer. However, is this the appropriate response? More importantly, will it even work?

Senator Marco Rubio doesn’t think so. He says that the legislation, which includes universal background checks, a ban on assault military-style weapons and a limit on gun magazines isn’t going to serve the cause intended by the President.

“The impetus for all of this is the shooting in Connecticut, right; that’s what led to this. And yet nothing he’s proposing would have prevented Connecticut. So it appears to me like this is stuff they’ve always wanted to do and now this has created the political climate to do it. It’s not going to solve the problem,” Rubio says.

Rubio is not the only one who doubts the functionality of the President’s proposals in the reality of 2013 America. In a recent op-ed, Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, former prosecutor in Washington, D.C., cites the D.C. gun ban of 1976 and its “unintended effect: It emboldened criminals because they knew that law-abiding District residents were unarmed and powerless to defend themselves. Violent crime increased after the law was enacted, with homicides rising to 369 in 1988, from 188 in 1976 when the ban started. By 1993, annual homicides had reached 454.”

In the end, this ban was lifted because: “the gun control laws irrationally prevent only law abiding citizens from owning handguns.”

On the surface, it may seem that President Obama’s more reasonable regulations would help to prevent future shootings, but the reality is that they could not have prevented the horror that befell Newtown or other mass shootings that have shattered the lives of far too many Americans. Instead there are issues other than gun control—in particular, mental health law—at hand that need addressing, and the president is misdirecting his attention. Let’s remember prohibition; that didn’t prevent people from drinking. President Obama needs to stop punishing law abiding citizens for the works of criminals.

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