Parents across the US can breathe just a little bit easier with President Barack Obama’s recent exercising of executive action and implementation of stricter measures for gun sales. Schools and universities have been popular locations in the past for deranged gunmen to strike. The former professor of US constitutional law informed Americans in a heartfelt address that he was not abolishing their constitutional right to bear arms and that his administration was moving only to implement background checks and ensuring there are formal sales records in place for firearm sellers. To no one’s surprise, the Republicans have opposed these measures.
The topic of gun control in the US remains controversial and even with these measures in place, their efficacy in mitigating incidents of mass shootings may still come to naught, given that these measures are not too stringent. Frequent polls conducted to gauge public opinion on gun control create an uncomfortable perplexity as to whether Americans want stricter gun control and thereby a safer America. A significant portion of the population opposes gun control measures, just as a substantial number supports other outlandish aspects of American politics — the strong support for Donald Trump being one of them. However, in one recent survey by Quinnipiac University, 89 per cent of Americans favoured more sophisticated background checks. Nonetheless, Congress, and especially Republicans, continue to hinder stricter gun control legislation, given the robust hold that the National Rifle Association appears to have on many American lawmakers. Still, it is refreshing to see President Obama make an effort, even if not a particularly strong one, especially if something productive comes out of it. With better gun control, President Obama has the opportunity to leave behind a legacy even richer than the one he is already trying to construct, wherein he has created easier access to healthcare for Americans through the Obamacare Act and resurrected ties with Iran and Cuba.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 11th, 2016.