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Obama blames gun lobby grip on Congress for lax U.S. gun laws

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Obama was right to point out that in most economically advanced countries, a Dylann Roof would have had an extremely difficult time obtaining a handgun. Meanwhile 21st century Americans must live and die, the latter in depressingly large numbers, in accordance with an 18th century gun law.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

“The question is just: is there a way of accommodating that legitimate set of traditions with some common-sense stuff that prevents a 21-year-old who is angry about something or confused about something or is racist or is deranged from going into a gun store,” Obama said in the interview.

Well, no. It's been determined that stopping gun massacres would be an unfair burden on lawful gun owners. So we just live with it and hope we aren't caught in the crossfire between the good guys and bad guys.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Hopefully one day there'll be enough well-educated Americans to make the necessary and long overdue changes that are required to stop, or at least sharply reduce, these mass murders from happening. If not, it really is hard to see the US as a developed country that learns from its mistakes and the current gun laws are without doubt a huge mistake. Full credit to Obama for repeatedly raising the issue and making his position clear on it. Many others would be afraid to.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Chart Shows How All 50 States Rank on Gun Ownership Compared To Nations Around the World.....

http://www.thefederalistpapers.org/second-amendment-2/chart-shows-how-all-50-states-rank-on-gun-ownership-compared-to-nations-around-the-world#comments

Dropped into my inbox from US colleague, musing the comments will give some insight into the political struggle ahead as well as changing hearts and minds.

There is the underlying preoccupation towards insurrection theory, the abstract that the second amendment still represents valid sound means to resist tyranny, the right to change oppressive government by force. The game changer will be persuading a nation to trust core principles and structures of democratically elected government.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Obama is correct blaming lack of progress not just on the power of the NRA but on public apathy. Some of the latter comes from agreement with the current interpretation of the 2nd Amendment and a view that the carnage is simply the price a "free" people have to pay; others, importantly, would love to see commonsense legislation passed to keep weapons out of the hands of those who have no business with them and keep certain classes of weapons out of the hands of all but have become discouraged by the complete lack of action following increasingly frequent mass shootings. Seriously: If Congress could not act after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, when 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children and 6 adult staff members with a gun given to him by his mother, they clearly will never act, so why even care?

Still, the pressure on GOP members seeking a national audience to toe the NRA line cannot be denied. Following are some remarks made Friday, the day after the church shooting, by Ted Cruz in Iowa. Though blunt, his comments reflect exactly what the NRA requires: no compromise - in fact, further deregulation.

"You know the great thing about the state of Iowa is, I'm pretty sure you all define gun control the same way we do in Texas -- hitting what you aim at." (Ha ha - funny guy, that Cruz! See, Roof didn't allow to live any who he intended to kill!)

"My wife, Heidi, who is a petite, 5'2 California blonde, she was standing at the tripod unloading the full machine gun with a pink baseball cap that said 'armed and fabulous.'" (Craziness is a family affair here.)

"It's sad to see the Democrats take a horrific crime and try to use it as an excuse, not to go after people with serious mental illness or people who are repeat felons or criminals, but instead try to use it as an excuse to take away Second Amendment rights of law abiding citizens." (This is the crux of the GOP argument that every national candidate must follow but that makes no sense at all.)

"There's a famous saying, praise the Lord and pass the ammunition. There is a reason why the Second Amendment is right after the First." (Bibles and guns. See, you can't argue with the Lord, unless his chosen vicar on Earth says something that goes against GOP dogma, in which case the Lord should just stay out of it.)

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Or as Fox would have it:

'Obama compares America unfavorably with France'.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

'Sure, take the guns away from the people, because the world is running just fine. There are no wars, no greed, no favoritism, no old boy network, no 1% ruling over all, we're all just one happy race! No need to keep the powers in check, right?'

And in the most well-armed industrialized country in the world, the government loves wars of choice, lionizes the greedy, has the Bushes and the Clintons looking to continue dynasties and has the worst case of a stunningly wealthy elite sucking up all new wealth while the rest rot. All those guns haven't done anything much to keep that in check.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

sangetsu03, kinda funny things about deaths in America. Cars are quite necessary to a modern society, and alcohol generally kills only those who abuse it - yet the government does spend a large amount of effort and money to reduce these deaths with good results. Yet the CDC has been expressly prohibited from using funds to research deaths caused by firearms. So how preventable are these deaths? - certain members of Congress would not like you to know.

'Nother funny thing: Victims or their survivors are prohibited from suing gun manufacturers due to the idea that a gun which injures or kills a person has not malfunctioned; it has simply done what it was created to do, which is to kill. Those injured by malfunctioning weapons may sue the manufacturer, but firearms are not subject to federal health and safety regulations, unlike other consumer products; in fact, Congress has explicitly exempted arms and ammunition manufacturers from common consumer safety regulations. It's like if car manufacturers had been totally exempt from informing consumers of the Takata airbag problem.

No, guns live in a land that producers of other products could only dream of. Your attempt to compare guns to other dangers holds zero water.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@kazetsukai I wonder what it would take for you and others to decide when 'Federal or even the State police forces become overbearing'. Shooting citizens in the back as they run away? How about the government's surveillance of citizens or suspension of certain liberties during wars of choice? I'm not bashing America here ( I truly enjoyed living there and may have the chance again ) but as I mentioned to Fizzbit, an armed populace hasn't stopped the US government creating a system which is certainly not the freest around and has created a government of, for and by the 1%.

I remember a French politician once remarked that in many countries the people are afraid of their government while in France the government are afraid of their people ( 80-odd percent turnout rates and a politically engaged and active population will do that). I get no sense at all that the US government fears its largely apathetic people ( over 40% don't even bother voting ) given the liberties it takes. What would it take for them to overstep the mark? The government to take away your firearms?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Hopefully one day there'll be enough well-educated Americans to make the necessary and long overdue changes that are required to stop

Ownership of lethal firearms is and has been embedded in US society for far too long. Congress, supposedly representing the US citizens, is still living in the 18th century, and/or the majority of US citizens are. Turning a blind eye to gun related killing has become a fact of everyday life. Maintaining a provision in an ancient constitution is not only ridiculous, it is callous and totally irresponsible.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

We could make America a much safer place by banning guns, knives, alcohol, drugs, motorcycles and bicycles, dogs, personal watercraft, ladders, showers and bathtubs, football, and so on.

Nonsense. Aside from guns, all of the items on your list have uses clearly other than the taking of life and for the most part are dangerous only to those who misuse them, not to third parties.

Given the large number of guns in the US, and the huge number of people who own guns, the amount of gun-related deaths and injuries is remarkably, indeed, almost absurdly low.

The CDC listed the number of deaths due to homicide in 2013, a typical year, at 16,121, of which those from firearms were 11,208. You might call over 10,000 preventable deaths a year "absurdly low," but if that carnage were being inflicted on, say, the Pentagon, you might imagine the billions of dollars which would be spent to prevent it. Anyway, thank you for proving my point that many simply shrug and attribute it to an unpreventable American reality.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

“Here are the stats: per population, we kill each other with guns at a rate 297x more than Japan, 49x more than France, 33x more than Israel,” Obama said on Twitter.

Horrifying numbers. And, why? So a minority of the U.S. population can assert their right to own a gun -- even carry it in public -- over my right to feel safe?

“The question is just: is there a way of accommodating that legitimate set of traditions with some common-sense stuff that prevents a 21-year-old who is angry about something or confused about something or is racist or is deranged from going into a gun store,” Obama said in the interview.

Sure there is. But the NRA does not want this debate. So the folks in Congress, especially the House Republicans who have to get re-elected every two years, don't have the guts to make it an issue.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

“I don’t foresee any legislative action being taken in this Congress. And I don’t foresee any real action being taken until the American public feels a sufficient sense of urgency and they say to themselves, ‘This is not normal, this is something that we can change, and we’re going to change it’”

Well for once I can wholeheartedly agree with the President. Like it or not, when all is said and done the final arbiter in this debate will be the American people. And I really think that he and other control advocates exaggerate the influence of pro gun lobby on the US Congress, especially the NRA. The members of the US Congress and Senate represent constituencies and keeping tabs on what their constituents think is their number one strategy for getting reelected. And getting reelected is their primary goal. The reason they didn’t pass the last attempt was because they didn’t feel the pressure from “their” people back home. When a real majority of the American people calls for more control, then there will be movement in that direction.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

President Obama is rolling the dice, out of 261 candidates receiving NRA donations in 2012 (House and Senate candidates). Democrats - 25, Republicans - 236. In 2012

The NRA spent upwards of $12 million in an effort to prevent President Obama reaching the Whitehouse and failed. The real power lies the hands of ordinary US citizens, who will not be swayed by 'outside influence'.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

As a former constitutional law professor, he is unable to blame the constitution? After all, owning a gun in America is an individual right, nothing more and nothing less. Blaming the "gun lobby" for lax gun laws is like blaming liquor stores for there being too many drunks. Gun laws are lax because the government does not have the authority to deny people the right to own guns. The supreme court has affirmed the the right to keep and bear arms is indeed a right, and even if Obama manages to pass gun control legislation, it faces more than fair chance of being struck down by the court. Like it or not, that is the way it is.

The problem with having such sweeping rights in any country is that rights are subject to abuse. Alcohol is legal, but there are more than 80,000 alcohol-related deaths in America every year. Homicide by firearms result in about 9 thousand deaths per year. Wouldn't more lives be saved by regulating alcohol more strictly? After all, people don't need to drink alcohol any more than they need to own a gun, right?

We could make America a much safer place by banning guns, knives, alcohol, drugs, motorcycles and bicycles, dogs, personal watercraft, ladders, showers and bathtubs, football, and so on.

Given the large number of guns in the US, and the huge number of people who own guns, the amount of gun-related deaths and injuries is remarkably, indeed, almost absurdly low.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

To secure gun legislation, one will have to reach over the NRA and appeal to the ordinary voting Americans hearts and minds, one step at a time.....

Step one would be a comprehensive screening process for firearms purchase, it will have to be 'sold' to US voters not forced. Being "Holier-than-thou" will get you nowhere, pretty please I have been there, done that, and been shot down in flames.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

HI presto345, Hope I'm not making a wild assumptions, but I am going with you're born-and-bred American. Can I request your views and opinions?

Is gun ownership part and parcel of modern day home protection? Are your views regarding more stringent restrictions towards ownership of firearms prevalent within your community? Your views on the NRA?

US colleagues are of a business nature so may not be representative of the norm. you sound more down to earth if you don't mind me saying.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There are enough gun control laws in the U.S. The problem is that they cannot be enforced properly due to a lack of resources for prosecuting violations to the full extent allowed by the law. Trying to push new laws just leads to ridiculous debate and inaction. Instead the focus should be on providing prosecutors the resources needed to convict and send offenders to federal prison.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

As the worlds most powerful man (supposedly), Obama needs to make an executive order to get rid of the NRA once and for all and setup a gun buy back program, anyone in possession of weapons after this should get automatic 10 years jail minimum. the only people who need weapons are the military and the police.

Jeremy Wood

That is just the kind of thing that the 2nd Amendment was designed to discourage. For many millions of Americans any action like that would be a clear validation of the Amendment’s legitimacy in the current political and social climate and would almost certainly result in increased resistance to government interference in their lives.

Always remember the opening clashes of the American Revolution were a direct result of a government attempting to disarm the population. For a lot of people, especially enlightened liberal oriented people, the notion that today’s Americans would take up arms against their government is laughable. But for a significant segment of American society that notion is a fundamental component of their national heritage and identity; and rest assured there are those who will fight. I don’t think even a narcissist like Obama would like that on his record.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I read the title of this article and couldn't help myself from loudly saying "DUH!" to my screen despite the fact that it's the dead of night.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Put aside your IDEALISM and just for an instant LIVE in REALITY.

It has nothing to do with race, religion, politics, governments, legislation or even morals, ethics and laws.

Because you are NOT in a war zone. Because you are not fighting for survival. Because you have the luxury to view life from a safe distance and perspective. Because you live in a society which is somewhat safe and stable. ... you can opine at a theoretical idealized level.

Guns are an extension of our ability to fight to survive.

Wars are nothing more than an extension of our forever ongoing struggle to survive. Wars are no more than an extension of "competition" for the right to survive which is colored by "power" and "greed".

For the USA, it has determined many generations ago that when man started to live beyond just the family in what is a community and a society, survival means not just competition for resources, but also the ability to protect themselves from those who gain and has power to control and destroy him and his family. That is the very people that he has given the power and allowed to lead and govern the society within which he lives, the government.

That is why within the USA, state has its own National Guard and Police. It is not just because USA is such a large territory. When Federal or even the State police forces become overbearing, the only way was to defend and protect themselves. It just happens that the only weapon that made sense and still make sense today is the gun. One reason why it is within the US Constitution.

When a gun is misused, and it is often so, everyone pays attention. More so today because the media is able to cover it and broadcast it quicker and more efficiently without first clarifying that the rate and number of such misuse is far less, per capita, than in the past or that such misuse happen more often than not in family or close relationships.

The media uses these incidents for media coverage and attention. The politicians use it for their own political agendas.

Now look at the world... where would you like to be, a place where you can defend yourself or where you "expect" someone you hope you can trust will hopefully defend and protect you?

Things are not the same as here within our host country. (If guns are a problem in the USA, then is a "kitchen knife" a problem here?)

Not to criticize any of your comments, but I cannot afford to debate on such issues which affect my survival. When, to live or die is at stake, will you rely on "trust" and "faith"?

Are guns not needed within the USA?

What will you do and want if you were living there?

That is the question....

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Dylann Roof contrived to create an environment dominated in every conceivable respect, in language, words threatening, propagating, cultivating a bitter inner hatred of black African American culture, heritage, customs, beliefs and values until it consumed him, all too apparent in the cowardly murder of the nine black worshipers, and the devastating consequences for their relatives.

Roof is past redemption. Roof must formally face the community he so willfully and with inhuman cruelty wreak pain and suffering on such an unimaginable scale.

Proposing Constitutional change, proportioning blame on the NRA lobbying abilities, only skirts around the true nature of what motivated Dylann Roof to mass murder. Obama is in danger of public displays of posturing and hand wringing.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Sure, take the guns away from the people, because the world is running just fine. There are no wars, no greed, no favoritism, no old boy network, no 1% ruling over all, we're all just one happy race! No need to keep the powers in check, right?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Jimizo, those same people know that the whole system is rigged. Don't you?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Laguna JUN. 21, 2015 - 03:43PM JST importantly, would love to see commonsense legislation passed to keep weapons out of the hands of those who have no business with them and keep certain classes of weapons out of the hands of all but have become discouraged by the complete lack of action following increasingly frequent mass shootings.

But if criminals will always acquire guns by not obtaining them the way that law abiding people do, how is it going to get harder for them to acquire them?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

jerseyboy,

Sure there is. But the NRA does not want this debate. So the folks in Congress, especially the House Republicans who have to get re-elected every two years, don't have the guts to make it an issue.

And they talk about apathy in Japan!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

As the worlds most powerful man (supposedly), Obama needs to make an executive order to get rid of the NRA once and for all and setup a gun buy back program, anyone in possession of weapons after this should get automatic 10 years jail minimum. the only people who need weapons are the military and the police.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Ownership of lethal firearms is and has been embedded in US society for far too long. Congress, supposedly representing the US citizens, is still living in the 18th century, and/or the majority of US citizens are. Turning a blind eye to gun related killing has become a fact of everyday life. Maintaining a provision in an ancient constitution is not only ridiculous, it is callous and totally irresponsible.

You could also argue that free speech, freedom of religion, or the right to due process are also 18th century ideals, some have argued that they are. In America final authority rests with the people, not with the government, police, or military. The state may not and must not ever reserve special rights and privileges for itself, or it is no longer a government of the people, by the people, or for the people. If the second amendment can be abolished, so can any of the others. Neither congress nor the senate will enact any gun contol laws because if they did so, they risk not being reelected, in other words, democracy at work. If the majority of people wanted gun control, they would have elected leaders who would support such laws. But once again, gun ownership is a right, and such laws, even if enacted, stand more than a fair chance of being thrown out.

The CDC listed the number of deaths due to homicide in 2013, a typical year, at 16,121, of which those from firearms were 11,208. You might call over 10,000 preventable deaths a year "absurdly low," but if that carnage were being inflicted on, say, the Pentagon, you might imagine the billions of dollars which would be spent to prevent it. Anyway, thank you for proving my point that many simply shrug and attribute it to an unpreventable American reality.

And more than 40,000 were killed by cars. And, as I mentioned, alcohol causes almost 90,000 untimely deaths per year. How preventable are these deaths? Are these other deaths less bad because they weren't caused by guns? How about a little perspective? Contrary to popular belief, violent crime has been decreasing steadily in America for decades, there is less "carnage" every year.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

don't have the guts to make it an issue.

Why should they? The people who reelect these incumbents are very responsible "gun owners" and are in the upper middle class + income bracket.

People who have actual careers rather than ordinary low-income "jobs" like the addicts and muggers who vote the other way-

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Obama, LOL!!

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Obama is correct blaming lack of progress not just on the power of the NRA

Obama need not worry of the power of the NRA cuz he is a puppet of other monied groups. You don't get it do you. They're all under some thumb of one group or another, and both don't care about guns

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

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