Obama Tightens Gun Control: New Year, New Rules

From handguns to assault rifles, Americans can easily purchase weapons. Obamas new rules hope to make the process of buying a gun more difficult.


From handguns to assault rifles, Americans can easily purchase weapons. Obama’s new rules hope to make the process of buying a gun more difficult.

        Columbine. Sandy Hook. San Bernardino. Each of the three preceding places stand out in the minds of Americans as not just a location, but rather the destination of a horrific mass shooting. In 2015 alone, 372 mass shootings occurred in the United States, causing many to raise eyebrows at a number which is seemingly far higher than it should be.

On Tuesday, January 5, President Barack Obama took matters into his own hands, calling for expanded background checks and stricter federal enforcement of the nation’s gun control laws.

        President Obama has been a longtime proponent of stricter gun control. In contrast to the more radical changes he proposed back in 2013 but failed to make into law, his recent suggestions are far more moderate.

        Under the old legislation, many loopholes existed in the system of background checks relative to obtaining firearms. Technically, only gun dealers licensed by the federal government were legally required to execute background checks. When it came to buying guns online, in flea markets, or any other informal manner, those selling guns were not always federally registered as gun dealers, meaning they were not required to conduct background checks.

In regards to Obama’s new legislation, however, anyone in the business of selling guns, regardless of whether the deal is formal or informal, must have background screenings on the customers before a transaction can be made.

        Certain provisions of the law when it comes to gun control and background checks remain unclear as they always have, such as the number of guns a person must sell before registering to become an official dealer as well as who is certified to conduct background screenings.

While Obama received much praise from Democrats for his steps to tighten the enforcement matters relative to gun control, some within the Republican Party were less than pleased with the new gun control guidelines; many presidential candidates made their dissatisfaction clear, asserting that these new restrictions will not stand if a Republican candidate is able to enter the White House next year. Foggy guidelines such as those stated make their promises possible.

        Though the use of background checks will be more strictly enforced, holes in the system still stand. Approximately 63,000 background checks are requested daily, and most are processed almost immediately. Yet, according to federal law, if one person’s requested background check is delayed for any given reason, it takes just three days before said person can acquire a gun without having been approved. Additionally, the question remains on how current gun sellers who are not registered dealers will be forced to register to obtain the title.

The popular consensus throughout Adams appears to be that the measures Obama is taking in regards to preventing guns from getting into the wrong hands are good; however,  debate arises over whether or not anything else should be done.

“America has an issue with gun violence,” said junior Max Dilley. “We’re too lenient. We definitely need to restrict guns.”

Meanwhile, others disagree. “The use of guns is so widespread that not much else can be done,” said junior Vladi Barnekov in regards to Obama’s recent executive actions. “Criminals are going to get guns whether the law lets them or not. The only thing gun control is going to do is stop law abiding citizens from getting guns. Then, if someone comes up to them with a gun, they won’t be able to defend themselves.”

        While some great strides have been taken to enforce gun control, Obama feels that much still must be done, and soon. “We do have to feel a sense of urgency about it,” Obama said on the issue. “In Dr. King’s words, we need to feel the fierce urgency of now, because people are dying.”