The Next Thing Pres. Obama Must Say to Victims and Families

Pres. Obama offered his shoulder and kind words Sunday to victims and families of victims of the alleged Colorado shooter, James Holmes. What Mr. Obama said to the press afterwards was dignified and poignant. Our president can be counted on for his skill in a delicate situation. But after the initial shock of the shooting has waned, Pres. Obama must speak urgently and decisively for gun control. It’s time.

New York City Mayor Bloomberg already called for Pres. Obama and presidential candidate Mitt Romney to speak on the issue of gun control, yesterday on Face the Nation. In the coming weeks, hopefully, members of Congress will also hit the airwaves to argue against lenient gun laws and the lack of enforcement. Our elected officials need to talk plain on the increasingly dangerous situation of unregulated gun ownership in America.

The alleged shooter amassed 6000 rounds of ammunition from online gun stores, according to Huffington Post. The only purpose of buying this many bullets is to kill dozens of people. Yet there was no oversight, no red flags, no warning at all given by the merchants to authorities. It’s as if the assailant was invisible, and the arsenal he horded was a tragedy waiting to happen.

It’s commonly believed by many that the National Rifle Association, the NRA, is personally responsible for making semiautomatic guns and ammunition legal and accessible to mentally ill people. I argue it is the responsibility of our president, Congress, state and local governments, and voters as well. We are all responsible for the communities we live in, and the laws we vote for, directly or through our elected officials.

Leadership in a democratic society responds to the people it represents: we can and must petition our leaders to enact stricter laws and enforce them. Pres. Obama and other rational leaders will make gun laws stricter, enforceable, and funded when we demand they do.

There are many things that can be done right away to start to solve the problem of gun violence in our nation. Shutting down online gun merchants and gun shows is the first place to start. Updating background check resources for gun store proprietors is another. Offering generous “cash for guns” programs in communities with high rates of gun violence could help as well.

Practical solutions implemented by leadership and law enforcement will reduce risk of mass shootings like the one in Colorado, as well as decrease the frequency of gun violence incidents in our communities.

Pres. Obama must speak up for gun control now. We must, as voters in a democratic society, support him and other leaders when they do it. Responsible, rational, practical gun laws being enforced would have prevented the magnitude of the tragedy in Colorado last week. Voters and leadership can help stop it from happening again.