Sunday, July 22, 2012

When President Obama initiated a conversation about gun laws

While some on the left suggest directly and indirectly that President Obama hasn't done anything about reforming our gun laws, I think its important to remember something he did do.

Two months after the shootings in Arizona, the President published an op-ed in the Arizona Daily Star suggesting that it was time for us to have a grown-up conversation on the topic.
I know that every time we try to talk about guns, it can reinforce stark divides. People shout at one another, which makes it impossible to listen. We mire ourselves in stalemate, which makes it impossible to get to where we need to go as a country.

However, I believe that if common sense prevails, we can get beyond wedge issues and stale political debates to find a sensible, intelligent way to make the United States of America a safer, stronger place.
This is such a typical approach to an issue like this from President Obama. First of all, he waited 2 months until the rest of the country had moved on from their emotionally-driven responses. Then he went back to the community that had been hurt the most by that particular tragedy and invited them into a conversation. He knows that whenever we talk about this on a national level, folks like the NRA mobilize their minions with fear tactics ("they're coming to take your guns away!") But perhaps if everyday regular Americans could talk without that kind of influence, we'd find more that unites us than divides us.

But of course it didn't work. A simple look at the comments to his editorial will tell you that the fear has been too powerfully stoked to allow for meaningful conversation. How we get around that is the question of the hour. But simply suggesting that the President can do it on his own is an abdication of our responsibility.

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