President Obama has finally had enough with the National Rifle Association and the Republican Party’s refusal to even consider any kind of action to deal with the epidemic of gun violence and the reckless proliferation of deadly weapons among a clearly irresponsible populace. In the wake of some 353 mass shootings this year alone and the deaths of some 89 Americans to gun violence every day, the White House has announced that it is finalizing executive action to expand background checks on gun purchases as soon as possible.
There have been no major gun reform legislation passed by Congress in the past eight years. Last year, our nation produced over ten million firearms – of which only 4% were sold overseas. There are an estimated 270 to 310 million guns already in circulation in America, and there are more gun dealers in America than there are McDonald’s restaurants. Despite the overabundance of weapon and the ease with which they can be purchased, the NRA and the GOP politicians in their pockets have stymied any attempt by Democrats demanding some kind of reasonable background check or waiting period which would have prevented a mentally disturbed man from shooting a seven-year-old in the head a few weeks ago; or prevented two terrorists from amassing an arsenal so powerful that it required armored vehicles and SWAT teams to deal with, or have prevented any of the horrific massacres that our nation experiences with terrifying regularity.
The Hill reports that the changes that President Obama is considering “would classify more sellers as high-volume dealers, which would close a legal loophole that allows many sales conducted online or at gun shows to skirt existing background check provisions.” Not a huge change, but it would be something – but even such a modest proposal is met with ferocious cries of tyranny from rabid conservatives, who are going so far as to stage a “fake mass shooting” in Texas to “protest gun free zones” and exercise their delusional fantasies of being a “good guy with a gun.”
It’s far beyond time we took some kind of action to deal with the violence that strikes our nation every day. Not twenty minutes before this article was written, a suspected active shooter was arrested at Arkansas State University. If we cannot go about our everyday lives without living in fear of our fellow countrymen and their murderous toys, then we really need to reconsider what “freedom” really means.
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.