Obama’s gun control move: Impact on presidential elections

Obama gun control

Making a bold move in the final year of his presidency, US President Barack Obama has unveiled steps to tighten control and enforcement of firearms in the US. An emotional president, who was addressing the families of victims of shooting attacks over the years, laid out steps that would ensure stricter regulation of usage of firearms.

Gun control has been the most polarising issue in recent times in the US, with the Congress and general public strongly divided on the issue. A series of shootouts in the recent years has killed more Americans than road accidents have.

Deciding to bypass the US Congress which has been held to ransom by the lobbyists of gun companies, Mr Obama will take the route of executive action to bring the new measures on gun control into immediate effect. The new regulations would include stricter background checks, making the gun dealers more accountable. As per the current law, only federally licensed gun dealers must conduct background checks on buyers. Accusing the gun lobby of taking US Congress hostage, Mr Obama said, “they cannot hold America hostage.”

Addressing the families gathered, an emotional Mr Obama, wiping his tears, recalled the 20 young children killed in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Paying tribute to the families, he said, “Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad.”  

The Second Amendment Debate

Under the second amendment of the constitution, it guarantees the rights of citizens to own firearms. The opposition Republican Party and the gun lobby have been saying that Mr Obama wants to repeal the Second Amendment. Clarifying his stance, Mr Obama said, “it was possible to uphold the Second Amendment while doing something to tackle the frequency of mass shootings in the US  that he said had become the new normal.” The second amendment has been a huge point of contention among lawmakers, the media, civil society groups.

2016 Presidential Elections

For the first time in a presidential election, gun control is expected to be a major agenda for candidates campaigning for President. Republican candidates such as Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz reacted sharply, criticising President Obama’s decision, and said that they would repeal the new restrictions on gun control upon taking office. The Democrat front-runner Hillary Clinton welcomed the decision and said she was proud of Mr Obama’s efforts and promised to safeguard them if she wins the election.


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