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AS I SEE IT

Posted 1/12/16 (Tue)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

Once again, President Obama is overreaching his authority and sidestepping the U.S. Congress. This time, Obama has decided that he is tired of waiting for Congress to do something about gun control and has announced that he is going to impose new gun control regulations by administrative act.
No one will argue with the president that guns are being used for violent crimes and that guns are being used to kill people. The statistics of gun-related deaths is alarming. But then so is the number of suicides that are committed with guns.
Yes, it is important that safeguards be put into place to control access to guns. The big issue with Obama’s decision to bypass Congress and draft his own rules is that he is not only punishing legal gun owners, but he is also trampling on the rights of American’s Second Amendment rights.
Are guns, like the president and other anti-gun advocates believe, the problem?
The President like many good-natured people believes that guns are the problem. But guns are not the problem. One only has to look at the hundreds of thousands Americans who own and shoot firearms responsibly. For these American citizens, gun ownership is something they take seriously.
But Obama is right. There are people that shouldn’t be able to have guns. They are the known criminals, the known domestic abusers, and people with mental illnesses. No one will argue with the president that these people should not be able to own or possess a gun.
But the reality is that these people will always have access to guns. And if there is someone who intends to do harm, they are going to do it whether they have a gun, a knife, a club, or whatever they have. The hard reality is that not a single mass shooting committed over the last few years would have been prevented by imposing these new gun regulations.
And that is where Obama is missing the mark by taking this latest executive action. If Obama wants to make the streets safer in Chicago, Philadelphia or Detroit, then he needs to address the fundamental cause of crime. Guns may be used to commit crimes and murder, but they are just the tool.
Maybe the answer isn’t more gun control laws. Maybe the answer is about keeping hardened criminals off the street and in jail. Maybe the answer is identifying mentally unstable people, and making sure that they don’t access to guns. Maybe the answer is not hampering law enforcement, but providing our police and other law enforcement agencies with better information.
The bottom line is that a pen stroke by Obama is not going to rid America of crime. Nor is it going to eliminate the evils of society. President Obama would have been well advised to continue to work with Congress in addressing the concern.