Obama takes on gun-violence issue

Obama takes on gun-violence issue

Much as some people wish otherwise, efforts to reduce violence with stepped-up gun-control laws have largely failed.

President Barack Obama was scheduled today to propose a series of dramatic changes in federal gun-control laws that are aimed at reducing firearms-related violence.

Calling his proposals "sensible, common-sense steps," Obama wants new restrictions on the sale of semi-automatic weapons, stepped up background checks of individuals who wish to buy firearms and limits on the size of gun magazines.

Whether Congress will go along is in some doubt. After all, a president proposes and Congress disposes.

But Obama has taken his case to the right venue — the national government's law-making body.

Of greater concern is the president's plan to issue a series of executive orders — 19, according to news reports — aimed at limiting gun imports, mandating that federal agencies share mental-health information and directing studies to be made on gun-violence issues. People will just have to wait until they all are announced before reaching any conclusions.

But if past is prologue, one can expect Obama to stretch the limits of his power to issue executive orders. He has a bad habit of simply ordering changes in law that ought to be decided by Congress. His abuse of the recess-appointment process is just one example of him ignoring the constitutional limits on executive power.

Of greatest importance, however, is not what the president proposes or how he proposes to do it.

The real problem is that history has shown that laws aimed at restricting the right of law-abiding citizens to possess guns have failed to reduce gun violence.

Unfortunately, the cliche that when guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns has proved to be largely true.

Criminals ignore gun laws. If they did not, Chicago, which has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, would not be the murder capital of the United States.

It's perfectly understandable that citizens and public officials feel compelled to take action in the aftermath of the school shooting in Connecticut. But passing gun laws for their own sake is about as effective as the so-called security checks imposed on visitors to the Assembly Hall. They may make some people feel better, but it's a false sense of security.

Nevertheless, President Obama's legislative package deserves a thorough review. He may have some proposals that might contribute to reducing the problem. If he does, Obama will have succeeded where others before him have tried mightily and failed.

Sections (2):Editorials, Opinion
Categories (2):Editorials, Opinions

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Sid Saltfork wrote on January 16, 2013 at 3:01 pm

The News Gazette has declared it's position on reasonable gun legislation.  I have to admit that I did not expect the opinion written by the News Gazette on this issue.  Whether it was written due to the known anti-Obama attitude of the paper; or in support of nothing being done regarding gun violence is unknown.  The motivation of the opinion's writer should be clarified.  The writer even seems opposed to security checks in a large arena during sporting events, and other events where thousands are confined with restricted access for exit..  Amazing......  

Perhaps, the writer would clarify the reasoning for the opinion.

syzlack wrote on January 17, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Sid, for someone who pays as much attention to the NG as you do, it's a little surprising you were taken aback by the petulant and purile editorial.  You should have remembered his tantrums about smoking bans and the nanny state seat belt laws.  Also remember that he's packing.

Sid Saltfork wrote on January 17, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Your right; but I dislike the preaching from the pulpit when it is pure propaganda.  Times have changed except in the local news rooms.  It is an old boys, propaganda monoply.  What is galling is the tax break the state provides for "ink, and paper".

SaintClarence27 wrote on January 18, 2013 at 11:01 am

It is propaganda, but to be fair, it IS an editorial. It's a little problematic that it's wrong, though. Past efforts at gun control, in the United States and elsewhere, have worked - sometimes. The other problem is just assuming that the executive orders will infringe upon congressional power. It turns out they didn't. So overall, the biggest problem with this editorial is that it's just wrong.

Citizen1 wrote on January 17, 2013 at 6:01 am

Taking the rights of law abiding citizens without even thinking about taking the rights of under age criminals (routine sealing of legal records of the under age) and publishing the records of the mentally ill, elderly, anyone with dimished judgement (Hippa rights requiring sealing medical records) will fail.  It must fail under the Constitution.  It lacks common sense.  It will divide the country.  It fails to address the problem of why back gound checks fail.  It will fail to reduce gun violence.