The Justice Department is all set to pass a slew of new regulations attempting to reign in the absurd proliferation of dangerous weaponry among the American population, but the National Rifle Association and their lobbying army is, predictably, losing their collective minds at the very idea. “It’s clear President Obama is beginning his final assault on our Second Amendment rights by forcing his anti-gun agenda on honest law-abiding citizens through executive force,” said Luke O’Dell, vice president of political affairs at the National Association for Gun Rights.
The Justice Department’s list of proposed changes to American gun laws are hardly the unreasonably harsh and freedom-throttling restrictions that the NRA would have you believe they are; instead, they are common-sense and practical rules that would prevent the mentally handicapped and convicted domestic abusers from owning firearms. After the unimaginable horror of the Sandy Hook Massacre and the Aurora Theater Massacre, such a request shouldn’t be a controversial issue, but the gun-lobby has proven time and time again that, like the Republican Party they support, they have entirely disregarded the lives and well-being of the American people in favor of the profits they reap and the influence they wield with their fanatical lobbying.
“If America worked harder to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, there would be fewer atrocities like the one that occurred in Newtown” says President Obama. “We can respect the Second Amendment while keeping an irresponsible, law-breaking few from inflicting harm on a massive scale.” The numbers don’t lie. In 2009, a Congressional investigation found that there are 310 million guns in this country- more than our entire population.
In 2013, 33,636 Americans were killed by gunfire. A gun safety advocacy group, Everytown For Gun Safety, said that “American women are 11 times more likely to be shot and killed than women in other developed countries,” the group argues. “The high rate of domestic violence deaths in America is directly related to our weak gun laws. But we know that smart gun laws can—and do—stop domestic abuse from turning into murder.”
The NRA and their lobbying groups have raged and moaned about the DOJ’s actions, which are side-stepping the do-nothing Republican Congress and are taking matters into their own hands. Some of the other minor changes include things like requiring gun dealers to report gun thefts, provide gun storage and safety devices, and place restrictions on high-powered pistols. In the long run, America can live with a few people losing access to their guns over concerns over their mental health than risk another mass shooting. The NRA would rather see Americans die than take any meaningful, reasonable steps to make life safer for everyday people going about their lives.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.