President Obama pushed back against the gun lobby yesterday by issuing 23 executive actions aimed at curbing gun violence. In an attempt to address what the administration is calling a public health crisis with 30,000 firearm related homicides and suicides each year in the United States, the president called for a range of reforms and directed Congress to increase funding for various initiatives to help quell the violence.
Vice President Joe Biden took the lead on the President’s gun violence task-force which helped shape the Obama’s decisions. Among the recommendations of the task force was strengthening background checks to keep guns out of potentially dangerous hands, a commitment to increasing mental health services and allowing schools the options of armed and trained police officers on campuses.
Obama also pledged to increase funding for research into the causes of gun violence and remove restrictions on the Centers for Disease Control to do such research. The president stated in a press release, “research on gun violence is not advocacy; it is critical public health research that gives all Americans information they need.”
In his address yesterday the president was flanked by a group of children who wrote letters asking him to address the issues of gun violence. But reactions to his proposals from gun proliferation groups was visceral. The NRA released an online video, where it called Obama an “elitist” and a “hypocrite” because his daughters are protected in their school by armed Secret Service officers.
But the ACLU, in recognizing that Obama is indeed open to allowing armed guards in schools, also criticized the President saying “[p]olicymakers might assume that adding police, metal detectors and surveillance… makes students safer, experience demonstrates otherwise…”
GUEST: Josh Sugarmann, Executive Director of the Violence Policy Center
Visit www.vpc.org for more information.