The numbers reveal the shocking truth. More the 30,000 American men, women, and children die each year from gunshot wounds. The national magazine Mother Jones writes, "Since 1982, there have been at least 61 mass murders carried out with firearms across the country, with the killings unfolding in 30 states from Massachusetts to Hawaii." Moreover, 15 of the 25 worst mass shootings in the last 50 years took place in the United States.
On Jan. 16, President Obama announced a legislative and administrative effort to stem the carnage. Polls reveal that Obama's thinking is in line with that of the American people.
The widely-respected Pew Research Center for the People and the Press released (1/14/13) a poll of American attitudes about various gun safety proposals. President Obama recommends universal background checks for all firearm sales. According to the New York Times (1/16/13), "The background database, in place since 1996, has stopped 1.5 million sales to felons, fugitives, convicted domestic abusers and others, but today nearly 40 percent of all gun sales are exempt from the system."
The Pew poll reveals 85 percent of Americans favor universal background checks and only 12 percent oppose them.
Obama advises the reinstatement and strengthening of the ban on military-style assault weapons. The Pew poll reveals 55 percent favor such a ban, and only 40 percent oppose it.
Obama suggests a ban on the production and sale of magazines holding more than 10 rounds. High-capacity clips make it possible to gun down many people in a brief period of time. They were used in the recent tragic killing of 27 adults and small children in Newtown, as well as the mass shootings at Virginia Tech, Aurora, Colo., and Congresswoman Gabby Giffords ill-fated public event in Phoenix.
The Pew poll shows that 54 percent of Americans favor limiting clip size, while 42 percent oppose it.
President Obama proposes that more police be assigned to schools to protect students. He has used his administrative powers to help bring this about. Obama has provided incentives for police departments to hire school resource officers through COPS hiring grants.
The Pew poll reveals that the public favors armed security guards/police in more schools by a 64 percent to 32 percent margin.
All of these common sense measures have the backing of Americans. None of them take guns away from legitimate gun owners.Ultra-conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has argued that although the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution allows for private ownership of guns, the government still has the authority to regulate their use.
President Obama's proposals align with Scalia's thinking. They do nothing to restrict hunters or home owners who believe it is necessary to own a gun to defend their families and properties. But they surely will reduce the appalling number of gun-related deaths.