Thursday, January 17, 2013

Obama Recommends Solution to Gun Violence: Congress Reacts

President Obama announced his plans for dealing with gun violence in the United States. Some of his proposals can be acted upon unilaterally, and some require the approval of congress. With the Republicans in control of the House and Democrats in control of the Senate, the debates could get interesting. But first, what exactly did the President Recommend? Think Progress has a good summary of the proposals put forth by President Obama, including, but not limited to, the following:
  • Making background checks universal.
  • Banning assault weapons.
  • Capping magazine clip capacity at 10 bullets.
  • Purging armor-piercing bullets.
So what do the legislators of my illustrious state think of these proposals? Jim Inhofe had this to say:
“The text of the Constitution clearly confers upon an individual the right to bear arms – and not just for the purposes of hunting as many liberals will claim. Our Founders believed that the people’s right to own guns was an important check on the powers of the government and ‘necessary to the security of a free State.’ I couldn’t agree more and I stand firm in my support of this right.”
That's right. Jim Inhofe thinks that it is important to have firearms just in case you have to fight off the United States Army or the National Guard. Everyone but those pesky liberals know that the only thing keeping our elected officials (like him, for instance) from destroying us is the power of the weapons that we possess.
And what exactly does Tom Coburn think of the Presidents plan?
“However, as we debate these measures, we first must ensure our constitutional rights and individual liberties, including the Second Amendment right to bear arms, are protected. Instead of repeating the failed policies of the past, Congress should work on thoughtful and constitutional ways to prevent unspeakable tragedies like this from happening again. The fact that almost every public mass shooting tragedy occurs in a place where guns are prohibited shows that restricting Second Amendment rights tends to disarm everyone but the assailant.

“Secondly, we must acknowledge that with rights come responsibilities. Gun owners must exercise personal responsibility and do everything in their power to prevent firearms and ammunition from falling into the wrong hands.

“Finally, policymakers in Washington should remember that the legislative process is downstream from culture. The laws we make in Washington have less impact than the movies and video games that are shaping the hearts and minds of the next generation. Special interest groups from across the spectrum – from Hollywood to the NRA – all have a responsibility to defend a culture of life and liberty. Still, Congress shouldn’t take our cues from these groups. As elected officials, we should be beholden solely to the Constitution. Our job as it relates to interest groups is not to take instructions from them, but to give direction to them through our constitutional authority to legislate,” Dr. Coburn said.
This is a little bit better. At least Tom Coburn doesn't seem to be fighting the evil government in his mind quite the same way that Jim Inhofe is, but he still comes across as too limited in his thinking. He doesn't seem to acknowledge that there are nuances to all our rights. Gun ownership isn't an absolute right, and we need to find the best compromise on gun ownership that will allow us to be as safe as we can be while still allowing as much freedom as possible. Giving all that up for a domination of the strongest person with the most guns isn't the best solution.

Is it even possible to work with people like this? Some, yes. Is it possible to work with people like this enough to actually get anything accomplished? Only time will tell, but judging by the past, it doesn't look good.

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