Over the past decade in America, more than 100,000 people have died as a result of gun violence – and millions more have been the victim of assaults, robberies, and other crimes involving a gun. Many of these crimes were committed by people who never should have been able to get their hands on a gun in the first place.
That’s why, yesterday President Obama announced steps that the Administration is taking to reduce gun violence and make our communities safer. Building on the significant steps that have already been taken over the past several years, the President discussed a series of commonsense executive actions designed to keep guns out of the wrong hands through background checks, make our communities safer from gun violence, increase mental health treatment and reporting to the background check system, and shape the future of gun safety technology.
While some of the gaps in our country’s gun laws can only be fixed through legislation, which is why the President continues to call on Congress to pass the kind of commonsense gun safety reforms supported by a majority of the American people, the President is committed to using every tool at the Administration’s proposal to reduce gun violence.
Here is a sample of what editorial boards across the country are saying about the President’s executive actions to reduce gun violence:
California – Los Angeles Times (Editorial): “With gun epidemic raging, Obama finally bypasses Congress”
Polls regularly find that a wide majority of Americans — including gun owners — support mandatory background checks for all gun purchases…The core issues here are national in scope and require a reasoned national approach. How to get there is one of the most vexing political issues of our time. And it is one with a grotesque human cost, with more than 30,000 people killed each year in gun-related suicides, homicides and accidental shootings. At some point, the American people need to inform their leaders that this price is just too high to pay.
California – Sacramento Bee (Editorial): “A passionate president crusades against gun violence”
It’s not every day we see a president cry in public, particularly the cool and calm Barack Obama…For his last year in office, Obama could hardly take on a more important – and controversial – crusade than America’s epidemic of gun violence…And for all the bluster about the constitutional right to bear arms, Obama pointed out that shooting victims had their rights violated…We’re still waiting for the president’s foes to explain why the rights of gun owners are somehow more important.
California – San Diego Union-Tribune (Editorial): “More background checks a wise step”
We share his concern about the extreme prevalence of gun violence in the U.S. and think it’s wise to reduce loopholes that prevent some purchasers from being subject to background checks.
California – San Jose Mercury News (Editorial): “Obama's executive order on guns came only after Congress failed to act”
President Obama gave Congress every opportunity to do something to curb gun violence. Lawmakers' utter failure -- cowering before the National Rifle Association -- left the president no choice but to use his executive authority. The common-sense measures he is pursuing will at least help keep guns out of the hands of people just about everyone believes shouldn't have them.
Colorado – Aurora Sentinel (Editorial): “Partisan sniping at Obama’s gun control plea glances into Aurora, Sandy Hook broken hearts”
Few places such as Aurora and Newtown, Conn., can appreciate President Barack Obama’s emotional response Tuesday to the tragedy of gun violence and the need to do something as a society to keep others from suffering our unenviable fate…The notion that there can be no regulation of the Second Amendment is not only laughably erroneous, it’s repugnant and spurious. Like all rights, these can and must be tempered with common sense and reality.
Florida – Miami Herald (Editorial): “Congress Idle While Obama Acts”
Mr. Obama deserves credit for doing what little he can on his own to confront rampant gun violence, given Congress’ abysmal failure to do anything whatsoever…The howls of protests from some arms enthusiasts notwithstanding, nothing announced by a tearful President Obama on Tuesday will change any laws or restrict the rights of law-abiding gun owners…All of these are commendable steps… Mr. Obama had no choice except to do what he could by executive action. Poll after poll shows that Americans are totally on board if lawmakers approve more restrictive background check laws. An October Gallup poll found 86 percent of Americans favored ‘a law which would require universal background checks for all gun purchases in the U.S.’
Florida – Tampa Bay Times (Editorial): “Obama's modest gun control efforts”
The president's incremental steps at least recognize the urgent need to make changes that can be strengthened when Congress finally finds the backbone to act…Obama's plan is not a solution, but it moves public safety in the right direction and should build pressure on Congress to finally act.
Illinois – Chicago Tribune (Editorial): “Obama gun control proposal a sensible step”
This step appears to be a reasonable adjustment of regulations in order to fulfill the purpose of an existing statute…It's not a cure-all — just a rational attempt to make it harder for people who are barred from owning guns to buy guns. And it's long overdue.
Iowa – Des Moines Register (Editorial): “Obama leads on gun reform after lawmakers refuse”
Though Obama’s authority is limited, his proposals are a good start. And they provide an example for lawmakers to build on — assuming they ever muster the courage.
Maryland – Baltimore Sun (Editorial): “Obama and guns”
Mr. Obama seems determined to go out swinging on the issue…Mr. Obama may be limited in what he can do on his own to change that — what he can achieve is by no means the extent of what's necessary — but it would be unconscionable for him not to use every power at his disposal to try.
Michigan – Detroit Free Press (Editorial): “Obama's action on gun control necessary”
There is nothing inherent in Obama's executive orders that bars the U.S. Congress from acting…During the winter of 2012, it seemed, for a brief moment, as though we might, at long, last act. Twenty kindergartners had been murdered in Newtown, Conn., by a well-armed madman, a crime so obscene that even, it seemed, the most committed gun enthusiasts accepted that something about the way we live has gone horribly awry. But we didn't act. Now the president has. That's something.
Minnesota – Minneapolis Star-Tribune (Editorial): “Gun control: Breaking beyond gridlock”
What activists seem to ignore is that the majority of Americans support at least some modest attempts to stop the mounting toll of bloodshed in a country awash in guns…If 2016 is anything like 2015, it will bring more mass shootings, in homes, shopping malls, schools and workplaces. The problem must be tackled on many fronts, but the president's initiative is as good a place as any to start.
Missouri – Kansas City Star (Editorial): “Proposals to reduce gun violence are sensible”
President Barack Obama on Tuesday revealed a restrained and reasonable set of new efforts aimed at reducing this country’s out-of-control problem with gun violence…America can and must do more to rein in gun violence and upgrade access to mental health care. Obama’s plans set forth sensible ways to pursue those positive outcomes.
New Jersey – Bergen Record (Editorial): “Obama's tears”
Background checks, as the president reiterated, are no infringement on the constitutional right "to bear arms." A national Quinnipiac poll in September found that 93 percent of Americans favored "requiring background checks for all gun buyers…” Obama, in this last full year of his presidency, is using the powers of his office to try to slow the rate of gun deaths in the United States, a rate that has no parallel anywhere in the world.
New York – Buffalo News (Editorial): “Gun debate moves to other areas of government as congressional inaction wears thin”
What is more important to the country than to inject a little sanity into the argument about gun violence?...Why would any thinking person object to ensuring that guns aren’t sold to people prohibited from owning them?
North Carolina – Charlotte Observer (Editorial): “On guns, Obama decides (again) not to wait”
But also, gun control isn’t realistically about preventing all shootings big and small. It’s about doing common sense things – like expanding background checks – so that it’s harder for people who shouldn’t have guns to get them. Americans have largely been split on stricter gun laws in general, but overwhelmingly in favor of some measures, including expanded background checks. While we’re still uncomfortable when the president acts without Congress, he is far from acting alone.
North Carolina – Raleigh News & Observer (Editorial): “Obama moves on gun violence”
If it was not an eloquent president’s finest hour, it was close, this Tuesday in the East Room of the White House. The president, surrounded by those who have been victims of gun violence…was passionate and emotional, unafraid to shed tears over deaths that might have been prevented with stronger gun laws on the books…Gun control is not, contrary to what opponents say, about destroying the 2nd Amendment or taking guns away from law-abiding citizens, and it never has been. It’s about reason. It’s about safety.
Pennsylvania – Philadelphia Inquirer (Editorial): “Put focus on gun sales”
Congress again and again has failed to place reasonable limits on gun sales that could help stem the daily gun carnage across America… Having addressed the American public following mass shootings eight times as president, Obama decided to bypass Congress and do what he could within the limits of presidential authority…In the final year of his presidency, Obama is determined to reduce the 30,000 deaths a year that result from gun violence, including suicides and accidents. "Somehow we've become numb to it, and we start thinking that this is normal," he said. Unfortunately, it has become normal for Congress to oppose any response to the violence.
Texas – Dallas Morning News (Editorial): “Obama’s reasonable steps on guns are small but significant”
President Barack Obama has once again used his pen to make changes in an area where Congress has refused to act…It should surprise no one that in the face of congressional opposition, the president is seeking to make what changes he can under authority of the laws already on the books.