Gun Violence

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama unveiled his proposals for curbing gun violence in America. There was nothing unexpected in the president’s proposals – universal background checks, a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips – that have not been the subject of heated debate in the days since the massacre of 26 people, including 20 young students, at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14.

In addition to the proposals that will go to Congress for debate, the president also signed 23 executive orders that don’t need the approval of the legislative body.

No one aware of President Barack Obama’s rhetoric and his background should doubt that if he thought he could get away with it, he would use executive orders to limit or ban private ownership of certain types of firearms. But many Americans sensitive to the chipping away of constitutional guarantees for many years are making it clear the Second Amendment is something they do not believe should be weakened by any individual.

Still, Obama and Congress are under tremendous pressure to do something to lessen the potential for more mass murders. Certainly, we believe something needs to be done to keep weapons out of the hands of people likely to commit the type of violence that has happened far too often and claimed too many innocent victims.

And we believe if both the president, and both political parties keep open minds and work together they can come up with measures that will help lessen these senseless acts.

In that regard, the 23 executive orders the president signed immediately after his news conference are a good first step to take. For example, ordering that federal agencies take more strict action against people who lie on gun sale background checks is a good idea and one supported by 84 percent of Americans, according to a new Associated Press poll.

Gun violence will not be wiped away overnight, and even if stricter gun laws are eventually passed, they will not completely end this type of insanity. However, if these initiatives – and the upcoming debate – can help even a little to keep guns out of the hands of people who pose a threat to society, they are a good first step.