Obama’s executive order useful

Fatima Elfakahany, Opinions editor

As gun violence continues to rage throughout the nation, President Barack Obama’s administration decides to take a stand. Although at this point in his presidency his executive order stands as more theory than action, his message exists as an important conversation starter regarding the danger of guns, which we as a nation still gloss over. Thus, though likely ineffective, the meaning stands as the most important part of the order, and that message makes it important to the country.

Many dissidents of the executive order protest the proposed stricter gun regulations, requiring businesses selling guns to conduct background checks on customers, whether the customer purchases the gun in stores, online, or gun shows. Although the wording appears vague, the openness, ironically, allows for less businesses to take advantage. Had the administration specifically defined the types of organizations that must run background checks, other organizations that specifically avoided the requirements would undeniably pop up, so those who do not want to deal with background checks would shop at those establishments. The Obama administration intended for more safety when shopping for guns; a specific definition would allow for more loopholes.

As for those complaining about the increased security checks: a balance exists between safety and ease of purchase. If one truly wishes to buy a gun, and does not possess any previous crimes or mental health issues, then one should not worry about the hoops needed to jump through the obtain that gun. The order intends for the safety checks to prevent possible dangerous people from getting guns; to make American citizens as safe as possible. The order does not prevent the average person from obtaining a gun, it simply initiates more steps so that the county can exist as a safer nation.

The president, in his press release, mentions that firearms now kill almost as many Americans as car accidents; a report released by the Center for American Progress supports this claim. On average, 33,000 Americans die every year in gun-related violence, and the number likely stands as incomplete as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention leaves some gun-related deaths out of their statistics, due partly to privacy concerns. While safer roads and car regulations decreased automobile deaths in recent years, America’s gun policies remain more erratic.

Obama’s executive order attempts to set basic guidelines to steady these shaky gun policies: tightening restrictions of illegal firearm deals, adding more employees, increase mental health treatment as well as gun technology, and heightening focus on domestic violence issues. Yes, the order currently exists as a skeleton, but it is also a step in the right direction in decreasing gun violence. Had Obama made his executive order more specific (which would necessitate powers beyond that of the president), he would overstep his boundaries.  

I, for one, am growing weary of turning on the news and hearing of another death because of a gun. I agree that banning guns outright would cause more problems than solutions, but I simply cannot fathom why one would not wish for more gun controls to increase citizen protection. Again, gun control does not prevent a vast majority of people from purchasing the guns they wish to buy, it simply makes it more difficult so that those who have the potential and drive to kill others needlessly cannot access the weapon for doing so.

Even if I did not agree with the executive order, Obama broke no laws in passing it. The order falls well within the bounds of the presidency, and he has not violated the Constitution any more than every president since Eisenhower has violated the Constitution by releasing executive orders. He does not bypass Congress; he steps in as president, standing by the right of a president to release such an order.

Ultimately, only Congress can fix the problem with gun violence and set clear-cut rules for guns. Yet instead of standing by and watching Congress squabble over laws to pass, Obama took steps completely within his legal authority granted to him by the Constitution to set precedents that make the system more rational, more effective, and more humane.

Is Obama's executive order on guns useful or useless?

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