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Gun Control Reform Needs to be on State of the Union Agenda

Gun Control Reform Needs to be on State of the Union Agenda

28 days into 2014 and this is already promising to be another deadly year when it comes to gun violence. In the first 14 days of school this semester, there have already been seven school shootings in our nation. Compare that to last year’s statistics: 28 school shootings in 2013, the year after the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, CT in December 2012 – which was supposed to be the year of gun control in the wake of the national tragedy where 20 students and six staff members were brutally murdered. President Obama demanded gun control reforms that made sense in last year’s State of the Union address. On the heels of the tragedy at Sandy Hook, Obama promised the nation mandatory background checks before gun purchases, more ways to keep guns out of the hands of the “bad guys,” and stricter gun laws in general.

America was ready for this reform after the events of December 2012, but none of it happened. The Senate completely voted down Obama’s proposals on gun control at a national level. At the state level, many laws passed. However, two-thirds of them actually loosened regulations on who can buy and sell guns. All of this despite the fact that, according to an April 2013 Gallup poll, 65% of Americans actually favor stricter background checks for gun sales.

The majority of our nation favors reasonable gun control measures, but the politicians in Washington are too worried about the money they get from the NRA and other pro-gun lobbies to effect any real change.

This problem goes much deeper than what we see in schools, though, as a teacher, that is what concerns me the most. There are an estimated 30,000 gun-related deaths each year in America. That’s one person every 17 minutes, according to the CDC. Also according to the CDC, that number includes 82 children under five years old who died from firearm-related injuries in 2010. And that doesn’t count injuries that alter the lives of 100,000 people each year. This is a widespread issue that effects every single one of us, and we deserve action.

President Obama is expected to tackle the issue of gun control in his State of the Union address tonight. I, along with the majority of Americans, know that these words will likely seem empty considering his plea for gun control last year and the Senate’s failure to act. Considering he asked for 41 different things last year and only three of them came to fruition (the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, Congress did not default on the nation’s debt and they passed a government funding bill earlier this month), I know that enacting gun control measures is going to be an uphill battle. However, the nation needs to hear these words from our president, even if it is seemingly futile. Then, we need to follow up and demand stricter gun control laws from our representatives. When the nation speaks, hopefully the politicians will listen.

Gabby Giffords, a former representative from Arizona who was shot in the head during a mass shooting at one of her political events, has the same idea. She has released a new ad calling on Americans to demand change when it comes to gun control laws. This ad is expected to air both before and after the State of the Union address tonight. Hopefully it will inspire our nation to enact the change we so desperately want to see.

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Photo Credit: The Knowles Gallery

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201 comments

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9:05PM PST on Feb 16, 2014

Noted

5:16PM PST on Feb 4, 2014

"Incredible Speech on Gun Violence"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hY2JR92Scmk

7:46AM PST on Feb 4, 2014

Say no to gun control and put the money to mental and emotional issues. The people most likely to shoot in these situations are fragile white males who seem to be fragile emotionally.
We also have to be cognizant that with the explosion in information technology a person can get over whelmed with news from the four corners of the world making it seem that everything is negative.
Urban and rural areas have differing needs. As a person whom has lived in rural and city I can tell the differences. As a kid (10) I had a pistol,shot gun,rifle and practiced every week. The gun was a tool. My friends would come over and go hunting. We knew and lived safety.
I had to go and tell hunters that the land was posted(no hunting). I was always armed. Not once did anyone defy me.
For myself early training is best. Gun handling like languages is best taught very early. As is home discipline! I saw the anti-gun new report with Sawyer and was amazed at the laziness of the parents. The children were allowed to roam everywhere! My parent's room was off limits! I had boundaries. My first paid job was milking cows. I had to get up very early walk several miles as cows get up early and need to be milked.
I blame a lot on the parenting methods used. No boundaries is a bad idea.

5:57AM PST on Feb 4, 2014

Thank you for the article.

5:53AM PST on Feb 4, 2014

Identifying mental illness is the key to gun control

8:28PM PST on Feb 3, 2014

Thank you for sharing the important news and the petition! (s, p, t)

5:50PM PST on Feb 3, 2014

Interesting video I came across on this subject.

"Why Everyone Should Own a Gun"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mu1UhCrvSzM

12:38PM PST on Feb 3, 2014

Read Gary's awfulling after 1st comment. I support free speech. I also support shouting loud enough to drown out the nutty nut message Gary is espousing. Sorry if I used BIG word Gardy. I bet I can guess your political and religious leanings , Gary. I do not intend to be facetious but may I express an unequivocal resounding opposition to your opinion, or in acronymical annotation, "eroo".

12:28PM PST on Feb 3, 2014

The hopeful subject of this petition is now historical in that the State of the Union address has already occurred. I do not know the legal entanglements involved to bring GUN CONTROL into effect. It is clear that few of the proponents will ever change their minds. Hopefully it will not be the bullet riddled body of their own child that changes minds. Even then some of the nutty nuts would propose that we arm our little toddlers with AK 47s. If any one has ever witnessed what happens to a little body in the path of automatic weapon fire, suffice it to say there will not be an open coffin viewing. What would those innocent tiny children,teenagers,mom's dad's grandparents cut to pieces by some malevolent gun owner say about the topic. I think they would choose life to being made into a lifeless mangled corpse.
I will defend myself and others, particularly those I most dearly personally love with my own life. The key word is defend. But to be constantly transfixed with being always at the ready, to me, bespeaks of a mentality that is more scarey. Guns have no place in a modern society. They do not even protect trained and well practiced police nor the members of organized crime who have the training and the cold blooded personality to execute the shooting of another human being.

11:47AM PST on Feb 3, 2014

I agree with Mari'

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches ancient Greek, Latin and Classics at Saint Peter's University in New Jersey.... more
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