President Obama responds to shooting

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When a parent drops their child off at school, they expect their child to come home once the school day is over. Unfortunately,  this was not the case for many parents in Newtown, Connecticut.

On Dec. 14, Adam Lanza entered Sandy Hook Elementary with a semiautomatic rifle and shot 20 children and six adults. Lanza later took his own life.

This shooting was the second deadliest in the nation’s history behind the Virginia Tech massacre, according to The New York Times.

Leaders from around the country made responses about the shooting. One response was from a very emotional President Barack Obama. In his statement, Obama emphasized that “meaningful action” needs to be taken to stop violent tragedy.

A few days later, Obama announced the formation of a task force, headed by Vice President Joe Biden, to investigate what the White House and Congress can do regarding gun control.

Biden and the task force delivered 26 proposals that the president could execute without Congress, and a few that would require Congressional approval. Obama signed these 26 proposals as executive orders. The orders ranged from appointing a permanent director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to addressing issues of mental health.

While these executive orders are good, they are not enough to prevent another massacre like the one at Sandy Hook Elememtary. Congress will have to act and create laws about gun control.

Some of the legislative proposals from the vice president include implementing background checks for all gun sales, reinstating the assault weapons ban, limiting ammunition magazines, and expanding insurance coverage for mental health. These are propositions that Congress must take action on. However, this is unlikely due to the vast scope and influence of the National Rifle Association (NRA).

The NRA obviously do not advocate for gun control. Instead, they believe there should be a police officer present in every school across the country because “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

The NRA’s view is unjustifiable. During an interview with ABC News’ Diane Sawyer, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, said there was a “good guy with a gun” during the Tucson shooting who almost killed the person who ultimately took the shooter down.

Giffords wants “common sense” gun control laws, like Biden’s proposed required background checks for every gun sale. Over 58 percent of the country would like to see stricter gun control laws like the ones Giffords and Biden are proposing, according to Gallup Polling.

With the current makeup of Congress, real action towards gun control will not take place fast enough. The only proposal that has a chance of passing the current Congress is requiring background checks on gun sales. 

Regardless, any action that does happen gets Americans one step closer to preventing mass shootings and other acts of gun-related violence.