Last night, CNN created the “Guns in America” special to help Barack Obama put on a carefully stage-managed performance answering pre-screened questions from a hand-selected audience in order to sell his personal gun control prejudices.
Predictably, his effort was futile, because it wasn’t honest. While the President constantly claims that his goal is to make the nation safer by reducing “gun violence,” his rhetoric has never come close to syncing with his actions.
In his faltering presidency, Barack Obama has consistently refused to take actions supported by both the super-majority of gun owners which would drastically reduce criminal homicides, in favor of pushing policies that would only target law-abiding citizens, in order to undermine the Second Amendment.
Here are three initiatives that President Obama could have taken at any point during the last seven years he’s been in office that would have received near universal support from gun owners and anti-violence advocates alike which he has refused to act upon, but which would have had a dramatic decrease in gun crimes from the first days of his administration.
1. Insist on the vigorous federal prosecution of criminals who violate existing gun laws.
Sadly, the Department of Justice refuses to prosecute violations of federal firearms laws, a fact that has been true for many years, but which has become even worse under the Obama Administration. A significant percentage of murders are committed by repeat offenders who could have been sentenced to stiff federal sentences prior to committing murders, but who were not vigorously prosecuted by U.S. attorneys.
One recent gun trafficker could have been sentenced to more than 500 years in prison for straw-purchasing more than 25 guns that he resold to known violent felons. He was given probation instead.
How many innocent people have been murdered as a result of the federal government refusing to vigorously prosecute federal firearms violations? Yearly criminal homicides might be slashed by 50% or more if the federal government prosecuted gun crimes to the fullest extent of the law.
Why has Obama allowed the Department of Justice to slack off their prosecutions by 25% instead?
2. Help approve funding for better data input from the states into the FBI’s NICS background check system.
The National Rifle Association, which made the current NICS background check system possible, helped push through the NICS Improvement Act under President Bush to help ensure that the states were providing timely information to the background check system so that criminals and the dangerously mentally ill could not pass background checks.
If President Obama really cared about “closing a loophole” to deny violent criminals and the dangerously mentally ill the ability to slip through the background check system, he could have made it a priority on his first day in office to make sure that those monies were properly allocated.
There are seven million prohibited persons that can still buy guns due to holes in the system which President Obama refuses to patch.
3. Ensure that citizens will feel comfortable seeking mental health care for temporary problems without persecution, so that we can focus on denying guns to the dangerously mentally ill.
Ever the cynical opportunist, President Obama has directed both the Veterans Administration and the Social Security Administration to abuse their clients to eviscerate the gun rights of people who have been declared temporarily unable to manage their financial affairs. More than four million Americans are subject to this scheme, which can strip a citizen who has been a law-abiding and productive member of society her entire life of his or her right to bear arms for daring to have a stroke or some other medical crisis that requires other family members or car-givers be responsible for their financial affairs for any length of time.
If Obama really cared about reducing the access of the deeply mentally ill to firearms he would ensure that people who have minor and temporary problems can get help without fear of persecution from a scheme that throws constitutional due process out the window.
The Mental Health And Safe Communities Act was written to make sure that the rights of citizens would be protected while they seek mental health care, so that we can focus on the most dangerously mentally ill.
Instead, Barack Obama focuses on catching the widest net possible in the hopes of disarming law-abiding citizens on technicalities.
* * *
We could have had agreement on all of these points from the day Barack Obama was sworn into office.
Tens of thousands of lives could have been saved, the most violent criminal offenders would be locked away in prison, people with minor mental health care concerns would seek treatment without fear of being persecuted, and the criminal justice and mental health care systems could focus their attentions on the “worst of the worst.”
But instead of taking any of these steps that would have had broad bi-partisan support, Barack Obama has spent seven long years finding ways to infringe on the core natural rights of 320 million law-abiding American citizens.
Mr. President, you’ve refused to use your office to help the American people, and in your naked partisanship, have instead become the problem.