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.
Leading Republicans predictably —and pathetically — mocked the president’s intentions.
Drop the political gotchas for a moment, and Obama actually is speaking for the vast majority of Americans who want to keep the Second Amendment in place while making the country safer, especially for children.
Consider his call for Congress to approve a new $500 million investment in mental health research, which eventually could increase access to better care for people in desperate need of it.
Police in Kansas City and across the nation say mentally unstable people with guns constantly endanger themselves and others. In addition, national Republican lawmakers who have long fought gun control measures have instead contended that the nation should be spending more money on better mental health care. We agree: That is part of the solution.
As Obama said so well on Tuesday, he’s now inviting GOP lawmakers to “put your money where your mouth is.”
The president also unveiled some executive actions designed to expand and improve criminal background checks. The smart goal is to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not legally be allowed to own them.
Presidents of both parties have issued these kinds of actions before. That didn’t stop GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan from offering the feeble parry that Obama’s “words and actions amount to a form of intimidation that undermines liberty.”
Fortunately, America has a president who isn’t cowed by the National Rifle Association and its most passionate followers. While supporting the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms, Obama correctly pointed out that people affected by gun violence “had rights, too.”
Besides, what’s the pro-gun camp getting so riled up about? An NRA spokeswoman said Monday of Obama’s plans, “They’re not really doing anything.”
Gun violence strikes close to home for too many Americans. For example, Obama mentioned the hate crime that left three people dead in Overland Park as well as the fact that gun violence has increased in Missouri after lawmakers repealed gun control rules.
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.
In December, we asked readers to share reasonable thoughts on America’s problem with gun violence. Read some of the best responses on all sides of the issue at kansascity.com/opinion/editorials.