President Obama penned an editorial this week titled “The President’s Role in Advancing Criminal Justice Reform.” The purpose of Thursday’s editorial was to advocate greater gun control safety measures and champion his own executive actions taken for the cause.
In the Harvard Law Review commentary, Obama urges Americans to “take commonsense steps to reduce gun violence.”
“We need to do everything we can to keep our children and communities safe from gun violence,” Obama wrote. “Addressing the country after mass shootings has been one of the most frustrating and disheartening responsibilities of being president–and it’s something I’ve had to do far too often.
“The names of so many places that should be remembered for their great contributions and strong communities–places like Tucson, Aurora, Newtown, Charleston, and Orlando–still conjure up for me the deep sadness of so much unnecessary violence and loss,” the president continued.
“After a tragic shooting, we always come together to wrap those who are grieving with our prayers and love,” Obama wrote. “But as I’ve said many times: ‘[O]ur thoughts and prayers are not enough.’ They alone won’t capture the heartache and grief and anger we should feel, and they do nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted someplace else in America. We have a responsibility to act.”
In the article, Obama characterized gun violence as “an epidemic playing out across the country” and condemned the contribution of firearms in crimes, suicides, and accidents.
The president lauded the advancements made by his administration in an effort to thwart gun-related violence, mostly by way of executive action. One example is Jan. 16, 2013 when Obama signed 23 consecutive executive orders designed to address the problem of gun violence in America.
Obama writes in this week’s op-ed that his aim over the past eight years was in “dedicating more resources to ensuring background checks are conducted on time and jumpstart[ing] the development of smart gun technology.”
Obama suggested that any future actions taken should be “commonsense steps to reduce gun violence that are consistent with the Second Amendment.” He also admitted that his many efforts were, ultimately, insufficient.
“There’s a great deal of work left to be done,” he wrote. “Congress should pass the kinds of commonsense reforms supported by most of the American people–from investing in access to mental health care to expanding background checks, to making it possible to keep guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists. The actions we take won’t prevent every act of violence–but if even one life is spared, they will have been well worth it.”
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