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New year, new gun control laws

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By Kevin Mercado


   To start off the new year, and his last in office, President Barack Obama made an emotional call for action against gun violence.

   His first step in his plan to decrease gun violence is to regulate gun control. Obama is seeking a more expansive background check for gun buyers and sellers.

   “The measure clarifies that individuals ‘in the business of selling firearms’ register as licensed gun dealers, effectively narrowing the so-called ‘gun show loophole,’ which exempts most small sellers from keeping formal sales records,” CNN writers Eric Bradner and Gregory Krieg reported.

   Obama has made a point that people have been discussing for what seems like an eternity. We need to find a way to prevent random acts of gun violence, and perhaps creating a more rigorous background check won’t be the finite solution to this problem, but it is a definite step in the right direction.

    “We have to be very clear that this is not going to solve every violent crime in this country,” Obama said as a prelude to his speech the following day. “It’s not going to prevent every mass shooting; it’s not going to keep every gun out of the hands of a criminal.”

   A problem like gun violence is not one that can be solved overnight, and Obama is very clear on that. However, it is a problem that we can’t ignore. In his speech, Obama mentioned how Republicans try to sweep this issue under the rug.

   According to the CNN article, “Obama hammered congressional Republicans for opposing measures like expanded background checks as he called on Americans to punish them at the polls. He defended his actions to strengthen background checks for purchasing guns, answering critics who say the measure would not make it harder for criminals to obtain firearms.”

   I am firmly on Obama’s side on this one. It seems as though Republicans are not at all for stricter background checks or stricter gun control laws in general because they want to easily own weapons to hunt and kill game.

   However, I think it is important to note that Obama is very surely not saying that there should be a restriction or ban of guns in the United States, but he is saying that something needs to be done.

  In his speech he referenced the infamous Sandy Hook shooting and how the massacre was essentially a catalyst for this move to enforce a stricter background check. He was clearly emotional when he brought up Sandy Hook and went on to say, “Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad.”

   According to Michael D. Shear and Eric Lichtblau, writers for The New York Times, “Mr. Obama will hire more personnel to process background checks in a timely manner, direct officials to conduct more gun research, improve the information in the background check system, encourage more domestic violence prosecutions and order better tracking of lost guns.”The article mentioned that the law will make it simpler for states to provide mental health information for the background checks. This could be the difference between selling and not selling a gun.

   This movement will most definitely re-hash the congressional conversations regarding the 2nd Amendment. However, Obama made it clear that this new law is not to outlaw or prevent the owning of a gun, but to determine who is most sound and sane to purchase a firearm.

   It’s a law to keep an eye out for and only time will tell if it truly makes a difference when it comes to gun violence.

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