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By Laura Savage                                    Follow East Palo Alto Today on
East Palo Alto Today                               Facebook    Twitter         Blog    
Monday, January 28, 2013               
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Laura Savage

The term ‘gun control’ is being tossed around everywhere in the country since the Newtown, CN massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I have some issues regarding this hoopla, not because I don’t agree with the rhetoric, but because I am disgusted that this conversation has only come up now that white elementary school students have been killed.

I don’t want to make this about race either, but it is astonishing to me that thousands of young black males are lost every year to gun violence and no one says anything about that being a tragedy. We don’t need to look further than Trayvon Martin, a case known nationally, in which a 17-year-old was shot by a neighborhood-watch-patrolman.

Locally we can look at the Oscar Grant case or many of the gun-murders in Oakland and East Palo Alto of 2012.

On Wednesday, January 16, 2012, President Obama signed so-called ‘sweeping’ gun-control measures into federal law. Elected officials across the country are up in arms saying that President Obama doesn’t believe in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

I watched the speech by President Obama and Vice president Biden. I didn’t hear anything that closely resembled wanting to take guns from citizens that legally purchased them. As a matter of fact the president said he agreed with the Second Amendment and the right to gun ownership for protection, for sport and for gun collectors
Vice President Joe Biden, during the gun-control press-conference, said that legislators and the American people had a “moral obligation to diminish the prospect” of a massacre like the one that took place at Sandy Hook from ever taking place again.

As a Delaware senator, Biden served decades on the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary. His service on this committee gave him influence in legislation dealing with civil liberties, drug policy and, most relevant now, crime prevention, which included gun-related issues.
He was picked by the president to spearhead the conversations surrounding gun control after the Sandy Hook incident.

Both Biden and Obama seemed sincere in their remarks to honor those at Sandy Hook. Obama even extended his remarks to include this country’s other mass shootings and the daily shootings in high-crime and gang-infested areas such as the streets of Chicago.

This is important! So many are focused on the more frequent mass shootings in unexpected places. What about the mass shootings in “the hood”? Thank you, Mr. President for including the children of color affected everyday by gun violence.

“Keeping our children safe” is the president’s focus. It should be our focus, too -- the focus of all of us.

It is, often, said that ‘ the children are our future,’ with education as the focus of what needs to be changed. But how will children get to the future if they die by gun-violence?

I would like to make some recommendations:
Some of the directives signed by President Obama include stronger and universal background checks. This should be common sense for everybody. Gun shows should not be allowed to get away with selling guns without background checks.

Those seeking to skip background checks go to gun shows purposely, as demonstrated by the high number of gun-shows and gun sales at these shows since the announcement of executive-orders-to-come by the president.

Citizens have been pumped with fear by the National Rifle Association its supporters and its congressional cronies into thinking that their second amendment rights will be taken away. Fear tactics work in America! This is sad, but true.

The president also signed a directive for the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to “assess… the causes of gun violence and the successful efforts in place for preventing the misuse of firearms.” (See the text here.).  
This particular move scares gun manufacturers and their lobbyist because of the implications it holds. If indeed there is a link, which studies have already shown there to be, and it is publicized by this research, society will be forced to reexamine and adjust it’s approach to guns -- all guns!

That’s right: gun-violent video games, gun shops, gun manufacturers, gun lobbyist, the NRA, and more. This might be scary for gun enthusiasts.

It should be troublesome that a large percentage of the population is more concerned about having the right to own as many guns and accompanying magazines as possible than about providing a safe existence for all American citizens and those that cross our borders.

Probably the most controversial of the president’s suggestions is a ban on military style assault rifles with a limit of ten magazines.  It doesn’t matter that Ronald Reagan passed the same measure in 1994, which sadly was allowed to expire in 2001. What matters to these critics is that it is coming from a democratic president, who quickly took the needed steps that have been halted in Congress for years due to some of its members’ NRA loyalties.

Regular citizens don’t need assault rifles because we should not be assaulting anyone. There is no need for these to be in the hands of non-military citizens – not even in the hands of the police!
“We have to examine ourselves and our hearts,” said President Obama in his address on gun violence.

The American people have to demand change and a safer existence in this country.


Laura Savage, the author of this article can be contacted at epatoday@epatoday.org.