Obama, Guns & Good ole’ America

     Earlier last week, just hours before the tragic shooting in a Louisiana movie theatre, President Barack Obama sat down with BBC and the President shared what he thought was the greatest frustration of his presidency.

     Being a President who not only inherited an abundance of issues from the previous administration, but also has had many other major frustrations manifest throughout his six and half years at the helm, there are many issues the President could define as distressing.

     Out of all the issues the President could have chose to be his most frustrating, he chose one that somehow continues to be highly debated among the citizens of the country and our elected officials. The failure of the U.S. to enact common sense gun control legislation, even after continued events of gun violence and mass murder throughout the United States.

     The President pointed out the fact that since the 2001 September 11 attacks, “The number of American citizens killed by terrorism is less then 100, while the number of people killed due to gun violence since that time is in the 10’s of thousands.”

     I am beyond pleased that our President is not only highlighting how frustrating this issue is, but also vowing to keep pushing towards common sense gun legislation. Unfortunately, President Obama has been labeled by people as, "The man who is going to take away all of our guns" since day 1, among other inadequate titles, but this title alone is quite barbaric.

     Per usual, many Republicans like to instill fear and panic into the lives of people and unfortunately many people in our country believe such irrational assumptions. As most of the “gun-nuts” like to point out, the right to bear arms is the 2nd amendment of the U.S. Constitution. So, for any President to have the ability to take away guns from every citizen is impossible, unless all bodies of government overwhelmingly agree, which obviously would never happen.

     The problem is people are mixing up, “taking away guns from every U.S. Citizen” with “keeping guns away from harmful individuals and mentally ill human beings”, the latter being a plausible response to protecting the public and ensuring the safety of others in this country.

     Another problem with this issue seems to be many people feel that regardless, gun control laws would not be able to keep firearms away from dangerous people. If that is something you believe, I then invite you to talk to the families of the victims of the Charleston shooting, where in that case the shooter was able to purchase a gun due to a faulty government background check. It has been proven by the FBI that had that background check been done correctly, Dylan Roof would have not obtained that firearm that killed 9 people in June.

     If you yourself are a responsible gun owner, then you have nothing to worry about. However, the issue of gun control seems to be yet another example of right-wing paranoia and the use of scare tactics to get what they want, instead of logical solutions, and quite frankly, everyone just needs to calm down.

     Obama is not going to take away our guns, we do not need to arm ourselves against the government and no one is trying to persecute anyone for being a gun-toting citizen. As stated earlier, the right to bear firearms is a constitutional amendment. Why you feel the need to strap it on your belt when grocery shopping is beyond me, but that is just one example on the long list of unnecessary things people do in public, along with face-timing while walking or wearing crocs, to name a few.

     If we as a country cannot realize that this is a huge problem that needs immense attention and action, then we deserve to live in fear of going to the mall, supermarket, movie theatre or school.

     While growing up in rural Iowa, my father owned numerous firearms and I was frequently around a firearm during my youth. I do not think it is crazy of me to think gun control legislation is either inefficient or inappropriate. Unfortunately, we live in a country where words speak louder than action. Where a preventable shooting occurs and instead of focusing on the issue at hand, we settle for condolences from elected officials and the removal of a flag that should have been removed 150 years ago. If we took all the energy we ourselves and the media in our country focused on an irrelevant flag, and instead actively participated in our democracy and tackled issues head on with solutions, imagine what kind of country we could all be living in.

     It is extremely frustrating that we live in the greatest country on earth and we have a President who cares deeply about the safety and security of our citizens, yet others feel the constant need to disregard everything he says and stands for, due to him being an African-American, Democrat, "Muslim from Kenya", whatever.

     People can continue to feel the need to post inaccurate memes about President Obama on social media or try to discredit factual statistics and results with whatever right-wing irrelevant news source you want, but it is truly disgusting not only how divided we have become as a country, but how we have treated the man in the oval office over the past 6 and a half years.


Riley Cosgrove