Today, the first Monday of the new year, President Barack Obama, back from a vacation in Hawaii, begins his last year in office by illustrating he has no intention of spending the next twelve months as a lame duck. The President will meet with Attorney General Loretta Lynch to discuss options for potential executive actions that would curb the selling of guns without adequate background checks.
As is usually the case when any suggestion is made that the gun acquisition process should be made more stringent, those who make up the gun lobby are speaking out against the action. Claiming that such a move would defy the concept of ‘government of the people by the people for the people’ given similar measures have not passed congress, the gun people cry foul. I suspect the alleged miscarriage of democracy would not irk them quite as much if they were in agreement with the potential outcome. The president was elected ‘by the people’ and has at his disposal the ability to exercise executive actions. Seems democratic to me.
In a year end address Obama stated “The gun lobby is loud and well organized in its defense of effortlessly available guns for anyone. The rest of us are going to have to be just as passionate and well organized in our defense of our kids. That’s the work of citizenship — to stand up and fight for the change that we seek.”
What struck me most about Obama’s statement was the use of the phrase ‘the rest of us’. Clearly defining the gun control debate as an ‘us/them’ dichotomy. For the first time that I can recall, a president has announced his intention to try to fix the deadly problem of guns even if it annoys some. Flying in the face of the gun enthusiasts rather than trying to curry favor with them. It looks as though this last year of Obama’s time in office is going to be anything but lame duck in nature.
I think for many Canadians the U.S. love affair with guns is somewhat baffling. Statistics show great numbers of Americans are killed or wounded by guns every year. Regardless of whether this number is trending up or down, the fact that so many incidents occur seems to indicate action is needed to limit access to guns. But no. Often the loudest response is, astonishingly, that more guns are needed; guns for teachers, guns for health clinic receptionists, guns for students. Essentially a return to the days of the Wild West.
Political gamesmanship be damned; Obama seems determined to leave his mark on American society before his departure. Bravo!