- Posted January 16, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Gun control debate: Background checks
Feel Good Measures Do Not Alter Societal Violence
- hhanks, CNN iReport producer
Today, President Barack Obama laid out 23 points in addressing guns and violence in the United States. While it is applaudable and worthy that from the bully pulpit the issue of guns and violence is being discussed and brought to the forefront, there was nothing I heard or have read about the proposals put forth today which will, in my opinion, have any impact on violence in our American culture and society.
I do agree with and understand the need for background checks on all gun sales. I am not sure how this will be implemented when so many guns are sold between family and friends. But I do believe we must get a better handle on who legally possesses or may obtain a firearm in the nation. This is one of those feel good measures, but I do not see it having much of an impact on preventing or deterring another Newtown or Aurora.
At the same time, the National Rifle Association (NRA) is not helping its image or enhancing its validity in the current conversation on what to do about violence and the impact or play of firearms in these atrocities when it releases a gun video game or with the ad it aired today which mentioned the President's daughters. The NRA is coming across as deaf to the cries in the streets and in the homes of victims.
I find all of the proposals to be reasonable actions to take. But nothing outlined by the President addresses the cause of violence, society's fascination with violent acts nor do I see anything that will be a deterrent to future violence. Some of what was initiated (Points 3 & 4 see below) may have to be cussed and discussed in state legislatures throughout the nation to work out the details.
As I said the discussion is appropriate and needed. The actions being taken are applaudable. I just cannot see where any of this will actually deter those bent on committing heinous activities nor do I see where any of this gets to why society has turned so violent. I do not see a pathway to treating effectively those bent on destruction.
From the Cornfield, I tip my hat to Vice President Joe Biden and his task force and to the President for bringing the issue front and center.
My question is when will we get passed the optics and feel-good measures and address the why our society has become so violent and how to change the path we are on?
The problem is not guns. The problem is not movies. The problem is not video games. The problem is not that people suffer from mental illness. The problem is us.
We go blithely on with our lives until a Sandy Hook happens while ignoring the daily slaughter that happens in our inner cities. Is it time to change our societal tolerance to the daily violence?
How do we accomplish this and yet maintain the freedoms we hold so dear within our society?
I don't have the answers, but something needs to be done that is more than just another band-aid or sitting around the campfire and singing a happy song because we did something even if it didn't help change anything.
As reported by CNN here are the 23 executive actions taken today:
1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.
2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.
3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.
4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.
5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.
6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.
7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.
8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).
9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.
11. Nominate an ATF director.
12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.
13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.
14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.
15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies.
16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.
17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.
18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.
19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.
20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.
21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.
22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.
23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.