Obama has unveiled his gun policy proposals despite a lot of opposition from those on the right of the political spectrum. The proposals were released on Wednesday after receiving urgent cries for changes to the constitution and laws surrounding gun control. Obama announced that “we have an obligation to try” to reduce violence and called for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and wider background checks on gun buyers.The National Rifle Association (NRA), a very powerful US gun lobby group, declared their rejection of Obama’s proposals, saying that “attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation”.
The president urged Congress:
- to reintroduce an expired ban on “military-style” assault weapons, such as those used in several recent mass shootings
- limit ammunition magazines to 10 rounds
- introduce background checks on all gun sales; currently private sales and some sales at gun shows, constituting about 40% of the national total, are exempt
- pass a ban on possession and sale of armour-piercing bullets
- introduce harsher penalties for gun-traffickers, especially unlicensed dealers who buy arms for criminals
- finally approve the appointment of the head of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
However, it is clear that the propositions would encounter stiff opposition in Congress with “politicians and special interest lobbyists publicly warning of a tyrannical all-out assault on liberty”. The US has one of the highest rates of civilian gun ownership in the world. The second amendment of the US constitution states, with qualifications, that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”. Yet Obama, it has been argued, appears to be taking the law into his own hands by implementing strict gun controls. Although the meaning of the clause is still debated, many gun-rights advocates read it absolutely and oppose any curbs on access to weapons.
What are your views on Obama’s gun control policy?