posted on Jan, 8 2016 @ 09:24 AM
I know there is a thread on the Obama gun control townhall, and if the mods need to delete this that is fine, but that one seemed to focus on Obama
ending gun control myths, and I have not seen one that dissected exactly what was dealt with at it and therefore wanted to give my opinion on the
I watched the entire event, and about an hour and a half of CNN’c coverage afterwards, and here are my thoughts on what I saw.
1. I do not care for CNN, but I thought that they and Anderson Cooper specifically did a good job of approaching the issue from both
sides of the argument. There were questioners that both agreed and disagreed with Obama, and I thought that many of Cooper’s questions were
actually rather difficult. I know that this was invitation only and that many people had a problem with that, but this is such a heated issue that to
allow everyone in would have been chaos.
2. Regardless of my opinions on Obama, I have to commend him for putting himself out there in this type of format. I did not feel the
questions were scripted, and it was nice to see the President’s thoughts without a teleprompter. Even when I didn’t like what he was saying, it
at least felt like I was getting insight into what he believed more so than his usual scripted appearances.
3. I thought that Obama answered most of the questioners respectfully, even the ones that disagreed with him. I saw many people on CNN
afterwards saying they were offended by some of the things he said to those he disagreed with, but I think that is rubbish. I for one am tired of the
constant rallying to be offended by anything, and I thought that even though I disagreed with what Obama was saying at many points, it came nowhere
close to offending me.
1. There seems to be three areas of concern that Obama was bringing up that prompted his Executive Action. These were mass shootings,
other gun violence (particularly inner city), and suicide and gun safety.
To start with the mass shootings, Obama had no good response to the fact that his actions would not have stopped one of the recent events. His
response was just we have to do something. This seems like nonsense to me for two reasons.
First just taking an action that is ineffective because it makes us feel good stymies real action that could be effective. We could be looking at
psychotropic drugs and changing them to stop these shootings, or changing how we fight terrorism, or even training people for defense in these
situations. There could be many other solutions, but as long as we are just doing feel good ineffective plans none of this will be done.
The second reason his policy is a bad idea is that in addition to not solving any problems with mass shooters, there are many problems it creates.
The first is that it is a red herring (in my opinion) and that it will lead to more gun control measures that actually do nothing to stop these
shootings and affect our 2nd Amendment rights (I’ll get to that more later).
It also sets even more of a precedent for expanded executive power. I know that executive actions have existed and been used before this, but not in
this high profile of an area. Even if you are for increased gun control, mark my words, you will rue the day when someone you disagree with becomes
President and starts using executive authority to do what they want.
2. On suicides: It was mentioned that 2/3rds of all gun death in the US every year is from suicide and Obama says we need to fix that.
There is no evidence that these people are killing themselves with illegal guns. How will background checks, etc. stop this? The implied answer is
that there should be less guns, or less people with guns.
Instead of taking away the implement of suicide, shouldn’t we be addressing the reason people want to kill themselves? Obama correctly asserts that
white people kill themselves the most, but incorrectly alludes to the fact that young people are more at risk. In fact according to the American
Foundation for Suicide Prevention the elderly are by far the most likely to commit suicide, and teens are among the lowest at risk.
Perhaps we should figure out why these people are killing themselves and fix that problem instead of grandstanding about guns. My guess is that a lot
of these deaths are for financial reasons, therefore we should focus on stopping the decimation of the middle class to help prevent these suicides.
3. On inner city and other gun violence: Obama says his actions will help because people are buying vans of guns at gun shows and then
selling them to kids in the inner city. After the townhall, I watched CNN coverage, and at one point a person against Obama’s measures asked a
prosecutor for these measures if in all of her years as a prosecutor she has ever heard of even one case of this happening. She answered no.
I actually have no problem with making people that are unofficial dealers that make a living selling guns repeatedly register. The question is how
many guns do you have to sell in order to be defined as a dealer. Obama’s answer to that question was that they will look at it on a case by case
basis. That is incredibly scary. This to me says that anyone selling even one gun can be under the microscope, and if he or his appointees deem it
acceptable then you will be left alone. This is not how laws are meant to be applied. People are already freaked out by Obama and his
administrations apparent selective application and enforcement of laws as is (IRS and immigration comes to mind) so this serves to freak people out
4. Obama shrugs off questions about why we don’t just enforce the laws already on the books. He says that the same people that say
that are the ones in congress that won’t fund law enforcement. This is a cop out. First, Obama got just about everything he wanted in the new
Omnibus bill (which is the budget that passed). He could have asked for more ATF funding or law enforcement funding that his executive actions
entail, but he chose not to. In fact, much of the rhetoric coming from Obama lately has angered much of the law enforcement community.
Many people problems (myself included) with Obama’s actions is that it targets law abiding people, but does nothing to the people that are actually
doing the killing. Why not harsher penalties for people caught with illegal firearms? In fact, convictions for illegal guns has decreased steadily
Despite the fact that guns are being bought at record pace across the US, gun crimes and all violent crimes are significantly declining (which Obama
admits). Only in select inner city areas like Chicago, Detroit and others are gun crimes actually up. This suggests to me that the problem isn’t
guns but something else. To me it seems it is not politically convenient for Obama to deal with inner city gang violence and other issues, so it is
much easier to throw out the red herring of guns being the problem.