It's Time For Obama To Pull The Trigger On Gun Control
The president's hints at change just drive more gun-lovers to load up on ammo.
There is probably one thing that Americans love more than their baseball and apple pie:
Guns. And more now than ever.
Over the last four years, gun sales have increased exponentially. Some of the trend can be attributed to Americans being fearful "the end of the world" is near. (Although if you're reading this today, obviously we're still here.) And with the social unrest that's taken the globe by storm over the last 24 months, not to mention the still high unemployment rate and the state of the U.S. economy, some Americans are feeling like the country could bottom out any day now, leaving every man to fend for himself.
Then you have the group of people who rush to gun stores whenever a mass shooting (usually with a gun just like the one they're planning to buy) takes place. Days after the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre in Newton, Conn., three states reported historic spikes in gun sales. Five months prior, gun sales in Colorado jumped 41 percent after the "Dark Knight Rises" movie-theater massacre. Hey, you have to fight fire with fire, right?
And of course, you have the subsection of the population who are not only afraid of chaos and deranged gunmen, but also fear the man whom Esquire magazine labeled one of the most "lethal" men on the planet:
President Barack Obama.
But it's not because of the people he's actually had shot down, but for the threats he's made: threats against the almighty gun.
Since he's been in office, President Obama has hinted here and there about his interest in either re-introducing the Assault Weapons Ban that was valid from 1994 to 2004, or introducing new legislation altogether.
Whether he's saying so in a campaign speech...
...at a town hall debate...
...or with tears in his eyes...
...Obama's views on gun control have the pistol-packing public shook. So shook that the National Rifle Association, the nation's powerful gun lobby, thinks that Obama has some sort of conspiracy in place to take guns out of people's hands.
In fact, before he even took office, the president voiced an anti-handgun stance when asked.
"I would support banning the sale of ammunition for assault weapons and limiting the sale of ammunition for handguns," he said in an Independent Voters of Illinois – Independent Precinct Organization questionnaire when he was running for the U.S. Senate back in 2003.
In the nearly 10 years since, President Obama has done everything but take action upon his remarks. But that hasn't stopped America's gun lovers from taking action. Until last year, gun sales rose every year that the president was in office.
In fact, business is so good that gun maker Strum Ruger posted profits so big in 2011, its stock rose more than 400 percent, outperforming gold.
“I think half of the people in the firearms industry, if asked, would hope [Obama] is not President, but then will secretly go out and vote for him again,” Sturm Ruger CEO Michael O. Fifer told Bloomberg News in an interview last year.
So what is it that people are actually afraid of? The chances of a guy running up in movie theater with a semi-automatic? Or the chances of the president telling them they aren't allowed to own one?
It could be a good bit of both, but until the president actually acts on his hints, he's only going to find himself giving more speeches, to drop more hints.
This week, in the wake of the Newtown tragedy, Obama signaled that he was ready to move, promising in a speech that a task force on gun violence, which he tapped Vice President Joe Biden to lead, would provide recommendations to present to Congress by the start of the new year.
It is imperative that this time the president actually sets things in motion when it comes to gun control.