March 6, 2016

New Year, New Gun Safety Reforms

Jessie Ruchman '18


New Years is a time in which people all across the world reflect on the events of the previous year and make resolutions about things they would like to change in the new year. Many consider the new year a fresh start and are open to admitting their faults in order to improve themselves and those around them.
President Barack Obama is no exception to this pattern of widespread honesty during the first few days of January 2016, which also happens to be the start to his last year in the White House.
As Obama reflected on political accomplishments and disappointments of 2015, as well as his presidency as a whole, he emphasized his great dissatisfaction on a topic that he described as the “biggest frustration” in office: the issue of gun violence.
In June 2013, Tumblr CEO David Karp conducted an interview with President Obama, who talked about the technicality of the issue. He explained that American citizens must respect the Second Amendment, and until society, including Congress, takes basic steps to do so, gun violence will not decrease in the slightest. Obama unhesitatingly pointed out the government’s flawed approach to reforming gun accessibility.
“It's not even possible to get even the mildest restrictions through Congress, and we should be ashamed of that,” he explained.
Obama discussed his opinions on the topic not only as a government official, but as a citizen who had been personally distressed by the many shootings. He was appalled by the amount of deaths in America caused by guns and how they had almost developed into a norm.
It has become common for news broadcasts to feature several homicides caused by a hand-held weapon and Obama made the point that there is no other advanced country in the world in which that would ever be a frequent occurrence. He stated that it was unacceptable that other countries had approached similar situations by passing very strict reforms on gun accessibility, yet America had somehow failed to do the same.
“A couple of decades ago, Australia had a mass shooting similar to Columbine or Newtown. And Australia just said, well, that's it—we're not seeing that again. And basically imposed very severe, tough gun laws,” Obama said. “And they haven't had a mass shooting since.”
Two and a half years later, Obama has implemented new executive actions in hopes to reduce gun violence and make our country a safer place to live in. More than 100,000 people have been killed due to gun violence in the last decade and Obama has stressed the fact that congress must begin to take new steps to acknowledge and act upon the countless amount of tragedies that could have been prevented if some of these laws had been implemented.
While Obama insists that passing these reforms may change the extensive amount of gun violence in the country, many people believe that it will either have little impact on the situation or create greater conflict among citizens that believe they should have the right to attain a gun.
Citizens throughout the country have voiced their opinions on the matter, including students in the GOA community.
Because most teens are frightened by how easily people can attain a weapon, many believe that the ideas of the President’s reforms are admirable and reassuring. While this is true for most people, many also agree that these executive actions are practically insignificant until Congress decides they are important enough to act upon.
“While guns are too accessible for American citizens, in order for Obama’s new reforms to make a significant impact in our society, Congress would have to pass all of the executive reforms, which they will most likely not be willing to do,” said sophomore Faye Hochberg.
She added a point in which many American citizens, as well as students in our community, feel very passionate about.

“Hopefully within time these new reforms will take action and make America a safer place.”

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