The gun-related tragedies of 2012, including the events in Aurora and Newtown, have vastly impacted the perspectives towards gun control in the United States. After the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy and the most current shooting at Lone Star College in Texas, Americans have been far from indolent in rallying for a change in gun laws. On January 16th, President Obama officially announced his gun control proposal to impede the growing violence due to the improper use of guns. This proposal accents four major aspects: law enforcement, the availability of dangerous firearms, heightened school security, and the mental health of gun owners. President Obama has vowed to make an effort to ban military assault weapons, expand background checks for all firearm sales, strengthen gun trafficking laws, apportion funds for an increased number of police officers, increase mental health assistance in schools, and assist further services to restrict the illicit usage of firearms.
Despite Obama announcing his official plan, the most difficult part remains, for he still has to successfully implement legislation. Obama has already called for Congress to ratify a past amendment to allocate 4 million dollars for a heightened police force on duty in addition to advocating for schools to hire more mental health resources. However, opponents of the Obama administration’s gun control policy, such as the National Rifle Association (NRA), which has successfully stopped the government from passing new gun laws in the past, claims that gun owners who consistently abide by gun control laws should not be subjected and punished for others’ wrongdoings. The Obama administration has announced that it will be focusing on the future production and sales of more dangerous guns rather than on legal firearms that are already possessed. Also, the NRA’s earlier proposal after the Newton tragedy that wanted to provide schools with armed guards, fix the mental health system, and prosecute criminals guilty of gun violence crimes in order to be able to continue their association of arms supporters, was widely denounced.
Specifically in the state of New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo has already instituted a new NY SAFE Act gun control bill that includes new restrictions on assault weapons and ammunition registries. This will require state registries for private gun sales and background checks on all gun purchases. Although some see this as bringing forth new, positive changes to the prevalence of American gun violence, many believe it to be unconstitutional. Earlier this month, Long Islanders of Huntington advocated against the NY SAFE Act bill, claiming it is a violation of the second amendment, the right to bear arms, as well as potential debilitation to law enforcement on school property. While the bill contains proposals for limited ammunition and registration of guns with only pistol grips, the general consent was that dire amendments to the bill were essential before instituting the bill into laws.
Obama has already directed four new legislatives and twenty three executive actions in the hope that he will bolster existing gun laws. Despite the hostile opposition in regards to the institution of new gun control laws, one can only hope for a incontrovertible decline in the violence of improper use of firearms.