President Barack Obama released a plan to the nation on the steps the administration is taking to #StopGunViolence.
Speaking from the East Room of the White House, President Obama outlined the steps he believes are necessary to reduce gun violence and make our communities safer. In the audience was Gabby Giffords, who was a member of Congress when she and 18 others were shot at a market in Tucson, Arizona. She sat alongside survivors, and families of survivors, as the president and audience members wept as he discussed that there is “a lot of resilience, there’s a lot of strength, but there’s also a lot of pain” in this room today.
He went on to highlight that “we are the only advanced country on Earth that sees this kind of mass violence erupt with this kind of frequency. It doesn’t happen in other advanced countries. And as I’ve said before, somehow we’ve become numb to it and we start thinking that this is normal. And instead of thinking about how to solve the problem, this has become one of our most polarized, partisan debates. People are dying. And the constant excuses for inaction no longer suffice. That’s why we’re here today, to do something to try to prevent” the next mass shooting. In these words, President Obama expressed a call to action to #StopGunViolence. For his administration to take action. For Congress to take action. For America to take action.
The President early on in his speech wanted to emphasize for the American people that he “believes in the Second Amendment. It guarantees a right to bear arms. I taught constitutional law. But I also believe that we can find ways to reduce gun violence consistent with the Second Amendment.” Then, he compared the reforms he’s proposing to similar limitation in place regarding the First Amendment, which is a “guarantee of free speech; we accept that you can’t yell “fire” in a theater.”
President Obama went on to make this very critical point that we have to find a way to balance our Second Amendment rights because the current protection of our Second Amendment rights is undermining our other rights as citizens! President Obama explained that as we have witnessed, guns undermined American citizen’s right to worship freely and safely as we say with Christians in Charleston, South Carolina, Jews in Kansas City, Muslims in Chapel Hill, N.C. and Sikhs in Oak Creek, Wisc. In addition, because of guns, American citizen’s right to peaceful assembly was also robbed from moviegoers in Aurora, Colo. and Lafayette, La. and college students in Blacksburg, Va. and Santa Barbara, Calif. and from high schoolers at Columbine, Colo. and from first-graders in Newtown, Conn. This is what I think is critical; that America is overlooking these situations without a modification to the Second Amendment. We are undermining every citizen’s unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness– the words that form the very foundation of our nation.
President Obama shared that “in the past decade, more than 100,000 people have died as a result of gun violence.” Then he went on to “outline what we’re going to be doing in the war to #StopGunViolence. In the press statement issued by the White House in junction with the President’s statements, White House official Tanya Somander shares more specifically that the four-pronged approach President Obama is proposing to make America safer through gun reform: First, “Keep guns out of the wrong hands through background checks.” Second, “make our communities safer from gun violence.” Third, “increase mental health treatment and reporting to the background check system.” Fourth, and finally “shape the future of gun safety technology.”
In closing his speech, President Obama urged that the steps the administration is taking to #StopGunViolence must be supported by action on the part of Congress. He urges each American citizen to “demand a Congress brave enough to stand up to the gun lobbies.” He implored that each American citizen “demand governors and legislatures and businesses do their part to make our communities safer.”
So, stand up America. In honor of Fort Hood, Tuscon, Binghamton, Aurora, Oak Creek, Newtown, the Navy Yard, Santa Barbara, Charleston, and San Bernardino, stand up as Americans and #StopGunViolence.